The UK government has revamped its best practice guidelines aimed at helping the public sector to get better value for money from management consultancies.
The guidelines have been drawn up in conjunction with the National Audit Office, the Management Consultancies Association and the Institute of Management Consultancy.
The intention is to set out a number of proven 'must do' principles for public sector buyers and private sector suppliers.
The guidelines cover the entire procurement cycle, from initial negotiations through to project completion, and update previous best practice guidelines published in 1999. They will continue to be monitored and updated.
A spokesman for the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), the government's commercial specialists within public sector purchasing, said: "The guidelines needed changing as there tended to be a perception that the public sector could be dealt with as any other company in the private sector.
"But there are major differences. The public sector is much more about service delivery than profit making.
"The public sector also tended to think that management consultancies could wave a magic wand and come up with answers, but what they can do depends on the information they are given.
"The guidelines have been put together to show what both sides require."
They identify two main principles for project success: the need to allocate responsibilities appropriately between departments; and a requirement for suppliers to work towards common goals with their public sector clients.
Advice to public sector firms includes: "Do not be defensive, the consultants are there to assist your organisation," and "Do not be afraid to provide too much information."
Mark Woods, OGC's director of collaborative opportunities, who worked on the development of the statement, said: "In my experience, one of the key reasons why contracts of any sort fail is because both parties fail to understand how the other side works.
"This document is a major step forward in helping to eliminate those kinds of misunderstandings."
The guidelines also complement the current re-competition of OGC's 'catalogue' of approved consultancy service suppliers to the public sector.
This seeks to deliver overall value-for-money savings of around 10 per cent on public sector spending on all aspects of consultancy.
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