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Consulting Excellence

Consulting Excellence is the ground-breaking new scheme for the UK’s leading management consulting firms. It marks a step change for the industry.

UK consulting is renowned around the world. MCA members make vital contributions to the economy, public services and our national life. Consulting is a great profession, a real vocation. In Consulting Excellence, MCA members have created a scheme that celebrates consulting’s value and also commits them to the highest standards of ethical behaviour, client service, and professionalism. Available only to MCA members, Consulting Excellence is the new badge of quality in consulting. It will help clients make better buying decisions. It will promote collaboration between clients and consultants to achieve great outcomes. And it will help MCA firms recruit and retain the best people.


MCA member firms adopt the Nine Principles of Consulting Excellence. MCA member firms will show how they live up to these Principles in ways that suit their clients and specialisms. They will provide a Consulting Excellence Declaration setting out what they do as a result, published on the MCA website. There are common exemplars (activities, commitments and illustrations) they can draw on. But Consulting Excellence will also unleash waves of innovation in how firms make their commitment visible and real for clients, staff, potential recruits and other audiences.

Consulting Excellence is not regulation or self-regulation. Nor is it a lowest-common denominator. Instead, MCA firms strive to uphold the highest standards. They will share and promote the best in UK consulting practice. They will learn from each other. They will use Consulting Excellence as a framework to promote consulting as a great career and to collaborate with their clients.

Consulting Excellence will be kept under constant review by MCA members. It will develop over time in response to external feedback as well as to changes and innovation in the industry and wider economy. The MCA will conduct two major annual surveys to support Consulting Excellence: one of consultants and a second of clients.


Clients say that they want a hallmark of quality that will help them make better choices when buying consulting services. The Consulting Excellence scheme will enable them to identify firms committed to openness and great results. Consulting Excellence will help member firms celebrate their work and promote its value to clients, staff and potential recruits. It will also help them distinguish the value of consulting – well managed teams that achieve client objectives – from the work of contractors and interims.

The Principles express the mix of the long-standing commitment to quality service plus a relentless focus on innovation that typify the best consulting firms. Consulting Excellence confirms consulting’s place at the digital cutting edge. As consulting firms work increasingly in partnership with others to achieve complex outcomes for clients, Consulting Excellence will be used to commit all participants to common, high standards. The Principles also encourage firms to evolve to meet emerging business, public and social needs.

Trust in business is low. Our industry is on the front foot. Consulting Excellence is a positive initiative, developed by firms who are committed to doing the right thing.

The Nine Principles

As signatories to Consulting Excellence, MCA members firms commit themselves to adopt the Principles.


Consulting Excellence firms work with clients, partners, employees and other stakeholders in an ethical way. This means:

1. We are responsible and good citizens.

2. We conduct our business ethically.

3. We foster an ethical culture.


Consulting Excellence firms promote the highest standards of client service and value. This means:

4. We provide excellent consulting services which deliver the outcomes clients seek and need.

5. We are transparent with clients and respond to their concerns.

6. We always strive to improve the value we can deliver to our clients


Consulting Excellence firms develop the capabilities of their consultants, provide career development opportunities and support the welfare of all their employees. This means:

7. We undertake training and professional development planning each year.

8. We promote strong core consulting capabilities and specialisms in our consultants and teams.

9. We support our employees’ career progression, professional development and welfare