Management: Time for consultancy to begin at home: A new venture has tapped into the growing desire of companies to reduce their dependency on outside expertise

IT DOES NOT take a company director or a Whitehall mandarin to know that calling in management consultants can cost real money. And even then they may not deliver the long-term saving the client is after.

Expenditure on consultancy is now on the agenda in many boardrooms as concern mounts over soaring costs, and sceptics question whether outside experts give value for money.

Concern was fuelled earlier this year by two government reports: The Audit Commission found that the National Health Service and local councils were spending pounds 120m a year on consultants. The most common reason given was 'lack of in- house skills'.

It also found that up to 60 per cent of consultants' recommendations were not implemented.

The Cabinet Efficiency Unit found that spending on consultants in the civil service had far outstripped savings.

Against this backdrop, it is hardly surprising that a growing number of organisations are using their own managers as internal consultants. This is a trend that should grow, according to Trainers for Change, which was set up in the summer and is already holding seminars and workshops.

Philip Albon, a director at Trainers for Change who used to work for Coopers & Lybrand, said the new company had identified an appetite for its services.

'With the pressure on costs, organisations are finding that for a range of projects the use of external consultants is prohibitively expensive.'

While conceding that external expertise is often helpful, Mr Albon counsels against employing consultants with an unfocused brief.

'By working more closely with consultants, organisations can reduce their outlay and get better value. Those with managers skilled in consulting will not have to pay for young MBAs who are sometimes trained on consulting jobs at the client's expense.'

He does not put Trainers for Change forward as a complete replacement for external consultants. But judicious use of outsiders could slash some hefty bills - the services of a senior partner in an outside firm, for instance, can cost pounds 1,900 a day.

Trainers for Change sprang from the consultancy culture and is a subsidiary of the management consultants, Beaufort Management. According to Mr Albon, it is the first in its field to concentrate on disseminating expertise to managers.

TFC trainers should know what they are talking about. They all have 'Big Six' experience, having worked for Coopers & Lybrand, Touche Ross, KPMG Peat Marwick, Andersen Consulting, Ernst & Young or Price Waterhouse.

Managers from British Telecom, British Gas, National Grid, the Ministry of Defence and Dunlop have already signed up for Trainers for Change courses.

They will learn the techniques and methodologies used by the Big Six consulting firms and, in doing so, cut bills and keep the management of change in-house.

Changes in corporate culture have bolstered the internal market within companies: personnel and training departments are now having to sell their services inside the company. The rise of the internal consultant seems a logical extension of this ethos.

Charles Handy, in his book, The Empty Raincoat, predicted that organisations would divide their work increasingly into 'project teams, task forces, small business units, clusters and work groups'. He argues that managers in organisations will increasingly work in a way similar to advertising agencies and consultancies.

Mr Albon thinks that 'in the fluid matrix organisations of the future, internal consultancy skills will become a premium commodity'.

Since opening for business, TFC has been getting a lot of course bookings from training departments. Instead of running standard courses on a regular basis, they are being asked to offer tailored solutions to situations as they arise in the organisation. Line managers are now internal clients to service departments.

As the two government reports show, the public sector has provided rich pickings for consultants. Market testing has opened up further possibilities.

Mr Albon thinks Trainers for Change is the first company designed to help other companies equip their own managers with consultancy skills. 'TFC trainers, who all have Big Six experience, can help managers drive successful change initiatives in-house at a fraction of the cost of hiring outside consultants,' he says.

It seems a seductive sales pitch.

Of course, to hone their own managers' consultancy skills, companies will have to call on outside expertise. But the investment should continue to give a return as long as a key employee who has been trained stays on the payroll, rather than invoicing the company on a daily basis.

Suggested Topics
News
exclusivePunk icon Viv Albertine on Sid Vicious, complacent white men, and why free love led to rape
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Colombia's James Rodriguez celebrates one of his goals during the FIFA World Cup 2014 round of 16 match between Colombia and Uruguay at the Estadio do Maracana in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
sportColombian World Cup star completes £63m move to Spain
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Antoine Griezmann has started two of France’s four games so far
sport
Life and Style
techYahoo Japan launches service to delete your files and email your relatives when you die
Life and Style
Child's play: letting young people roam outdoors directly contradicts the current climate
lifeHow much independence should children have?
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book
booksFind out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>
filmRobert Downey Jr named Hollywood's highest paid actor for second year running
Life and Style
Dale Bolinger arranged to meet the girl via a fetish website
life
Property
Sign here, please: Magna Carta Island
propertyYours for a cool £4m
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Business Analyst (Agile, SDLC, software)

£45000 - £50000 Per Annum + excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Lt...

Finance Manager - Bank - Leeds - £300/day

£250 - £300 per day + competitive: Orgtel: Finance Manager - Accountant - Bank...

Compliance Officer - CF10, CF11, Compliance Oversight, AML, FX

£100000 - £120000 per annum + BONUS + BENEFITS: Harrington Starr: A leading fi...

Trade Floor Support - Investment Bank - London - £350 per day

£300 - £350 per day: Harrington Starr: Our client a leading investment bank is...

Day In a Page

Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

The 'scroungers’ fight back

The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

Fireballs in space

Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
A Bible for billionaires

A Bible for billionaires

Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

Paranoid parenting is on the rise

And our children are suffering because of it
For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

Magna Carta Island goes on sale

Yours for a cool £4m
Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn
Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Alistair Carmichael: 'The UK as a whole is greater than the sum of its parts'

Meet the man who doesn't want to go down in history as the country's last Scottish Secretary
Legoland Windsor's master model-makers reveal the tricks of their trade (including how to stop the kids wrecking your Eiffel Tower)

Meet the people who play with Lego for a living

They are the master builders: Lego's crack team of model-makers, who have just glued down the last of 650,000 bricks as they recreate Paris in Windsor. Susie Mesure goes behind the scenes
The 20 best days out for the summer holidays: From Spitfires to summer ferry sailings

20 best days out for the summer holidays

From summer ferry sailings in Tyne and Wear and adventure days at Bear Grylls Survival Academy to Spitfires at the Imperial War Museum Duxford and bog-snorkelling at the World Alternative Games...
Open-air theatres: If all the world is a stage, then everyone gets in on the act

All the wood’s a stage

Open-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Rand Paul is a Republican with an eye on the world

Rupert Cornwell: A Republican with an eye on the world

Rand Paul is laying out his presidential stall by taking on his party's disastrous record on foreign policy
Self-preservation society: Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish

Self-preservation society

Pickles are moving from the side of your plate to become the star dish
Generation gap opens a career sinkhole

Britons live ever longer, but still society persists in glorifying youth

We are living longer but considered 'past it' younger, the reshuffle suggests. There may be trouble ahead, says DJ Taylor