Clients across public and private sector champion work of consultancy sector during Covid pandemic, as MCA announces finalists for MCA Awards 2021

  • Major clients from the National Vaccine Manufacturing Centre, NHS, Boots, Jaguar Land Rover, Network Rail, HSBC, Royal Mail and local councils and police forces promote transformative work delivered by consulting firms as highlighted in the MCA Awards entries. 
  • 32 consulting firms and 65 individuals make it to the finals following a record number of entries with a 46% increase in applications in 2021. 
  • Exceptional Awards will be handed out in 2021 for critical projects and work delivered during the pandemic, highlighting the sector’s role in assisting the economic and social recovery in the UK. 
  • PwC secured the greatest number of finalist places (24), shortly followed by EY (22), Deloitte (16) and IBM (10). However, a number of leading SMEs have also secured multiple successes including Carnall Farrar, Credera, Proxima Group, Vendigital and Inner Circle Consulting.  

Thirty-two firms have been announced as finalists by the Management Consultancies Association (MCA) for the MCA Awards 2021 in both project and individual categories. The awards, now in their 24th year, will recognise the transformational work the sector has undertaken during the last challenging twelve months as well as acknowledging the individuals who are having a significant impact both within their consultancy firm and with their clients. Large, medium, and small firms are all represented in the finalist entries which were selected by an independent judging panel of 45 judges and 18 SME companies have successfully made it the next stage of the MCA Awards. The competition for places in the individual categories is intense in 2021 with entries up over 72% on the previous year.  

 Over the last twelve months firms of all sizes have been engaged in critical work for private and public sector organisations as highlighted in the award for ‘Exceptional support and delivery to a client during COVID-19′. From supporting the accelerated set up of the National UK Vaccine centre and securing the delivery of equipment to help manufacture the Oxford vaccine (IBM) to assisting launch the lifeline Future Fund for fast-growing, innovative companies affected by COVID-19 (PwC), and helping government with rolling out remote working to tens of thousands of Foreign Office staff (BAE Systems Applied Intelligence), consultants have provided exceptional support to government during this unprecedented period. 

 Other public sector projects that have made it to the finalist stages include the work Credera has done in supporting NHS Digital with one of Europe’s largest network transitions of its kind and Carnall Farrar for its thought leadership work in highlighting the impact of the pandemic on cancer patients. EY are shortlisted for their work with Enfield Council on improving council housing and homelessness in the area, while Arup has secured its finalist place with its work with government on the potential of using hydrogen in homes to help meet net zero carbon emissions. IMPOWER enabled Lincolnshire County Council to better meet the needs of children with special educational needs and disabilities while PwC is recognised for its work with the exam board for the Royal School of Music in helping to digitalise and enable exams to be taken online during COVID-19. The range of finalists and the consultancy work they have delivered highlights the significant impact and results that have been achieved by a wide range of public sector bodies and MCA Member firms at both a national and local level. 

 The awards finalists also highlight the significant support firms have provided to the private sector in various categories including work with major clients such as Boots on digital retail transformation (EY), Sanofi Genzyme (KPMG) and supporting a 130-year-old family bakery business to survive and pivot its services during lockdown (Propaganda). Finalists in the ‘Performance Improvement in the Private Sector’ include Deloitte which helped medical device company, Penlon, increase the production of mechanical ventilators. Deloitte provided governance, financial management, and control and supply chain advice to ensure the programme achieved its objectives. Vendigital worked with Bombardier Transportation to ensure that its successful five bids to supply new trains had sufficient supplies and materials to keep production moving while PwC has two finalists’ entries for this category including one for its work with the Royal Mail Group (RMG) simplifying its working processes and establishing a ‘digital workforce’ using robotic process automation (RPA). 

 Over 65 individuals will be preparing for their finalist interviews in the individual categories with 45% of them representing larger firms while the majority, 55% are from SMEs. Entries for Rising Star and Young Consultant saw sharp rises compared to the previous year so the competition will be more intense than ever. Although the MCA received many entries for Best New Consultancy, only two firms Mason Advisory and Upside made it to the finalist stages following marking of the written entries.  

Tamzen Isacsson, Chief Executive of the Management Consultancies Association (MCA), said:  

“The outstanding examples of consulting work in this year’s awards highlight why the UK has one of the largest and most respected consultancy sectors globally. Backed by clients, across the public and private sector, these case studies demonstrate how consultants have gone above and beyond to deliver excellent client service during one of the most unprecedented periods in history. We look forward to celebrating this talent and the efforts delivered by our industry at our awards ceremony later in the year.” 

Lord Grimstone, Minister of Investment for BEIS, added:  

“These awards recognise fantastic work in what has been a year like no other. The quality of the nominations and the results that have been attained further illustrate why we have the biggest consulting sector globally, outside of the United States. The government is grateful for all the sector’s contributions to tackling the pandemic and I am pleased the value of this work is being celebrated by these awards.” 

Overall, for 2021, there are 24 award categories with 7 individual awards and 14 project awards as well as an award for Best New Consultancy, The Times Consultant of the Year and Project of the Year. Full details including the list of finalists and information on early bird ticket and table bookings can be found at