Management Consultancies Association Launches Consulting Excellence Scheme

The Management Consultancies Association represents most of the leading firms in that sector and works to improve the performance and reputation of the industry. Today, the MCA and its members have launched a major scheme to promote “high standards of ethical behaviour, value for clients and professional development”.

It’s called MCA Consulting Excellence, and today also sees the MCA hosting a debate (in partnership with the Harvard Business Review), on trust, ethics and reputation in business after the EU referendum.

The MCA hopes that the Consulting Excellence scheme will become the recognised hallmark of excellence in the UK’s £10bn world-leading consulting industry, “helping clients to purchase high quality consulting services and employees to opt for firms committed to ethics and value”. Clearly, the idea is that procurement executives and budget holding buyers of consulting services will look for firms that participate in the scheme when they select providers of consulting services.

Alan Leaman, CEO of the MCA, said:

“All our members are signing up to the nine Principles of Consulting Excellence. They will show how they live up to these Principles. Research with clients confirms their welcome for these commitments and the hallmark of quality they will represent … Consulting Excellence … will help clients to make informed and better buying decisions, and both consultancies and clients to achieve the complex outcomes the modern economy requires.”

The nine Principles cover three areas;

Ethical behaviour

  1. We are responsible and good citizens
  2. We conduct our business ethically
  3. We foster an ethical culture

Client service and value

  1. We provide excellent consulting services which deliver the outcomes clients seek and need
  2. We are transparent with clients and respond to their concerns
  3. We always strive to improve the value we can deliver to our clients

Professional Development

  1. We undertake training and professional development planning each year
  2. We promote strong core consulting capabilities and specialisms in our consultants and teams
  3. We support our employees’ career progression, professional development and welfare


Consulting firms will show how they live up to these Principles in ways that suit their clients and specialisms. Firms will also produce a Consulting Excellence Declaration which will be published on the MCA website, and the MCA will conduct two major annual surveys to support Consulting Excellence: one of consultants and a second of clients.

At first sight, we welcome this initiative – it is clearly in everyone’s interest if consulting firms follow these principles. However, it could also be seen by some as trying to restrict the consulting market and increase barriers to entry; so we need to look in more detail at aspects such as the cost of the scheme for participants and what it really means in practice before we move from cautious to whole-hearted support. We’ll be back with more on the topic shortly.


PS There may still be a few places left for the debate tonight at 30 Euston Square, London NW1 2FB, 5pm-7pm, on trust in business (and politics) following the Brexit vote. Please contact if you wish to attend. The debate is being hosted in partnership with Harvard Business Review, and Stephen Kinnock MP, and Ben Page of Ipsos MORI are on the panel.

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