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Tony Colwell - 16 September After the lull of the holiday season the Interim Management community has shown renewed interest in subject of "Catch 22" - the Cabinet Office's constraints on public sector deployment of Interim Managers.
The discussion had turned negative and a new direction, leading to some positive action, was called for. Because this is a closed Group, I thought it would be appropriate to reproduce my comment, which with minor editing was as follows.
This [Odgers Interim Management] discussion thread started on 3rd June. Alf Oldman and I had a meeting with the Cabinet Office on 1 July at which we were informed of plans to introduce new framework agreements to cover consultancy and executive interim requirements.
We were not bound by non-disclosure agreement; it is more out of regard for our professional integrity that we have not broadcast plans that the Cabinet Office has chosen not to announce formally.
It might be helpful, to take the debate forward in a constructive manner, to disclose some of what we know. The meeting dispelled a few myths surrounding "Catch 22". The Cabinet Office constraints on the use of 'consultants' applied to Central Government only.
The use of consultants and interims by local authorities has been affected by budgetary constraints, not as far as I am aware by Central Government directive. DWP Cipher - the outsourced Capita supply model; 2. I am not clear it was mandated that the Cabinet Office would have to approve such business cases.
Besides, the freedom to use "any other option" gives enormous scope, especially in light of the Public Accounts Committee's findings that the Cabinet Office is incapable of assessing value. Cabinet Office and formerly Buying Solutions' frameworks - of which there are currently 19 active - have never been mandated, and neither will they be.
That the Cabinet Office should be seen to prevent Central Government departments, or local authorities, from discharging their responsibilities is clearly unwise both politically and in terms of maintaining managerial accountability.
The proposed new frameworks are to fall within two distinct categories: Executive interim will not be classified as contingent labour, but 'handle-turning' contractors' roles will be.
I feel it is inappropriate to comment on the dividing line in terms of day rates but it was clear to me that many existing public sector 'interims' will fall into the contingent labour category, including those working at rates above recognised as lower-limit thresholds by the two professional bodies, API and IIM.
This is to be welcomed. If the Cabinet Office delivers what Alf and I were told is planned, then the recognition of executive interim status and the crossover with, and alternative to, big consultancy will be addressed.
My focus since the meeting has been on the interim management supply model. The success of any new frameworks is entirely dependent on the outcome of the tendering process. The critical factors are a Cabinet Office recognition that best value does not equate to lowest Interim Service Provider's "ISP" margin, and b ISP's placing bids that demonstrate, can deliver, and can measure the added value of a higher-margin service.The Online Writing Lab (OWL) at Purdue University houses writing resources and instructional material, and we provide these as a free service of the Writing Lab at Purdue.
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