Under the watchful eye of host Declan Curry from the BBC’s Working Lunch TV show, 600 of the country's finest strategic minds crowded into the Grand Ballroom of London's Park Lane Hilton, agog to discover which among them would be going home with one of the most coveted gongs in the consultancy business.
This year the awards, which recognise the best and most innovative projects undertaken by the UK’s management consultancy industry, have undergone something of a makeover, with new categories and special awards for the best private sector and best public sector projects.
This year's top prize, The Platinum Award, went to Deloitte Consulting for its work on the London Low Emission Zone, a ground-breaking anti traffic-pollution scheme for the capital which was so successful that 95% of all vehicles affected were compliant with the programme only four months after its launch.
Other highlights included the Best Private Sector award, which went to KPMG for its work with APACS on the long-awaited Faster Payments scheme. This programme – which allows same-day cash transfers between banks – is one of the few pieces of good news to have come out of the banking sector this year. And Propaganda won the Best Small Firm Award for its work with Seabrook Crisps, a well-loved family firm which is now able to mix it with the crisp business’s biggest spuds thanks to a root-and-branch rethink of its strategy.
Now we know there might be one or two hardened old sceptics out there in MT land who might not be all that impressed by the idea of giving awards to expensive professional advisers of this ilk; the kind of people who ‘borrow your watch to tell you the time’, as the old gag has it.
Wasting money on poor consultancy is certainly not uncommon, and is as unforgivable as wasting money on anything else in the current climate. Cash is king and all that. But good consultants who build constructive relationships with clients - based on genuinely improving their competitiveness, productivity and profitability - should be recognised, because they have a valuable, if poorly-understood, role to play in bringing pour current travails to a swifter and less painful conclusion.
Still, consultants need to work harder at explaining what they do and why it’s important to the rest of us; at how they can be, in the words of new MCA chief executive Alan Leaman, ‘a positive force in the economy. ‘ So go on, hug a management consultant today.
In today's bulletin:
BP's profits tank but share price still spurts
Revenue to spend £1bn chasing tax-dodgers
Curry comperes Consultancy Awards
JJB gets sporting chance
Recession leaves bosses 'caught in a trap'