Opinion – Reforming the Professional Interim and Independent Consultant Supply Chain Model? – John Gelmini

 Like Dr Alf, I look back on this period as well.

Since then, interim management rates have for the most part halved, yet the consultancy bill, via the Big 4 to Central Government, has gone up to £15.5 billion gbp and value per taxpayer pound is still at 17th in the world.

The “basket case” services, like the NHS, are not delivering, and we already see in Wales the first case of NHS meltdown. Last week, the head of NHS England, Simon Steven, tried to issue a wake-up call to the public and politicians who face a £30 billion gbp shortfall by 2020. Everybody agrees with his prognosis but the figures to close the gap (he quotes £8 billion gbp) are too big for the politicians to countenance because they would involve either cuts or finding 2 pence on income tax – this is if the £22 billion gbp in efficiencies that Simon Steven thinks can be found, do not materialize.

Local authorities are still in a deep financial mess, which is worsening; the MOD is wasting more money than ever; and the Home Office is still chaotic, not fit for purpose and has no idea how many people are in or set to live in the country.

What has happened is that as fewer interims have been involved in Central and Local Government work the amount of fraud, waste, mismanagement and duplication has increased.This is despite the more robust processes and supposedly superior consulting skills of the Big 4 and specialist consultancies like McKinseys. Specialist consultants are charged out to the Government at GBP5,000+ per day.

I seem to remember certain white-haired, very patrician, interims, acting as “devils advocates” and suggesting that they doubted whether interims would have any better effect on this situation than the Big 4 and the Systems Integration Houses /BPO providers. I also remember being told that I was “ranting” and that things were not as bad as I said they were, that everything would come right on the night, that IR35 would not be dramatically extended. They have, just as I predicted, been proved wrong in virtually every single respect as events have unfolded since 2010. These “devils advocates” have also been proved wrong not once but in every year since 2010 when Dr Alf started to highlight these problems and eventually moved to Cyprus, where he can now drink wine while the sun goes down and comment with the benefit of hindsight over situations which were bound to happen.

All of this is sad and would have been unnecessary but for a willingness to lobby and street-fight. Dr Alf, myself and a handful of hardened professionals formed a political action committee (PAC) but the industry lacked to stomach to fight their corner. The executive interim management industry had it’s golden years but they have long since passed. These days interim CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, CMOs etc., are just commodities in a globalized market-place. They are contingency workers, just like contract nurses, or IT project managers.

John Gelmini

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