Daily Tasks Tracker

Use the daily tasks tracker if you have lots of the projects on the go and want to present the information back to management visually or stick it up on the project wall.

You can find more templates on the home page A-Z premium templates

Management Consultancy Grades

A brief guide to management consultancy grades & corresponding requirements

Junior Consultant 
Demonstrable experience in a wide range of projects in their specialist field.
Evidence of client facing experience and support services to wider consultancy projects.
A qualified [insert industry] or part qualified [inset requirement]with typically at least 2 years relevant experience.
Typically a person within this category will have a minimum of 2 years relevant experience
Consultant
Notable experience and in-depth knowledge of their specialist field.
Evidence of a wide range of consultancy projects and client facing experience.
Support work in process and organisational design and leading workshops and events.
A part qualified to level X with typically at least 3 years relevant experience.
Typically a person within this category will have a minimum of 3 years relevant experience.
Senior Consultant
Substantial experience in their specialist field and in a consultancy/training role.
Previous experience in project management and working in a wide range of high quality and relevant projects.
A familiarity with the issues/problems facing private/public sector organisations.
A qualified [insert requirement] with typically at least 2 years post qualification experience and at least 5 years relevant wider industry experience.
Typically a person within this category will have a minimum of 5 years relevant experience.
Principal Consultant
Substantial experience in their specialist field and in a consultancy/training role.
Sound knowledge of the public sector and current policy and political issues affecting it.
Previous experience in project management on at least three major projects, preferably in the public sector and using the PRINCE2 or equivalent method
A qualification in X with typically at least 5 years post qualification experience and at least 7 years relevant [insert required experience].
Sound knowledge of private/public sector accounting and management practices.
Typically a person within this category will have a minimum of 8 years relevant experience,
Managing Consultant
Substantial experience in their specialist field and in a consultancy role.
In depth knowledge of the public sector and of current policy and political issues affecting it.
Previous experience in project management on at least five major projects, preferably in the public sector and using the PRINCE2 or equivalent method.
A qualified [         ]with typically at least 8 years post qualification experience and at least 10 years relevant financial experience.
Good knowledge of [insert requirement]
Typically a person within this category will have a minimum of 10 years relevant experience.
Director / Partner
Extensive experience in their specialist field, in which they are nationally or internationally renowned as an expert.
Extensive experience of leading or directing major, complex and business-critical projects, bringing genuine strategic insight.
In-depth knowledge of the public sector and of current policy and political issues affecting it.
Qualified in  [      ]with typically at least 10 years post qualification experience and at least 12 years relevant financial experience.
Extensive experience in their specialist field, in which they are nationally or internationally renowned as an expert.
In-depth knowledge of public sector accounting and management practices. Including where appropriate, experience of [insert requirement]
Typically a person within this category will have a minimum of 10 years relevant experience.

You might also like the guide to buying professional services

Toolkit for Buying PR Services

Buying PR is different to buying a commodity, therefore, procurement personnel need to act differently to get stakeholder buy-in.

  1. Does the organisation have a roster of agencies for the different PR related requirements?
  2. If you have a complaint contract ensure you use the current agencies rather than re-tendering every time there is a new requirement.
  3. If your roster needs refreshing who would you add to the panel, keep track of potential new agencies keen to work with you and your brand.
  4. When tendering or onboarding new agencies make sure the specification is clear and that they understand the brief.
  5. New agencies are selected via a formal tender or competitive process in line with the thresholds set by the organisation.
  6. Is the supplier capable of providing local, regional or global services/campaigns?
  7. How can you include a performance-related metric in the supplier milestones and deliverables?
  8. Hold regular service reviews with the supplier
  9. Is it possible for collaboration between the ASL agencies
  10. Make sure you understand the cost model, rate card and cost breakdown for activities
  11. Benchmark cost by comparing personnel performing the tasks and their experience- do you get the best people or the people at the right price?
  12. If the scope is likely to change consider the route to market and how you might build in flexibility to the specification
  13. If cost estimates change because the campaign has changed request for a cost tracker and flag/alert before money is committed, ask for projections. Hold budget meetings, budget versus expenditure.
  14. Consider project evaluation, define what is considered as a success and what can be improved. Identify options for efficiency to get ideas for savings in the next campaign.
  15. Ask your agency for ideas to reduce cost
  16. Track the ROI for a campaign
  17. Get stakeholders to buy into procurement as a value add rather than a function concentrating on cost reduction – talk their language.

Should You Take a Role Inside IR35?

Are you considering taking a role inside IR35? Most contractors would prefer to take roles outside of IR35 to minimise their tax liabilities but even if you work with an accountant this can still be a minefield and if you make errors the tax bill can be expensive!

Taking a role inside IR35 will equal less take home pay, you can use the HMRC tool to check whether if your role is in or out. If working in the public sector this is determined by the employer if successful the rules might be extended to the private sector which is to be determined!

Below I have highlighted some of the key questions that help determine the status, but proper advice should be sought.

Defined task – if you are engaged simply as a “helping hand” then this points towards employment. By contrast, if you are engaged to carry out a specific task, at the end of which the engagement ends, then this points to self-employment.
Control – if you are subject to control as to how your work is carried out then this points towards employment – if you are merely measured against agreed outcomes/deliverables and can work in your own manner then this points towards self-employment.
The method of payment – if you are paid by the hour/day/week then that points to employment – being paid for a project or task points towards self-employment.
Working hours – if you are contracted to work set hours then that points to employment – if you are contracted by reference to outcomes/deliverables then that points to self-employment.
Simultaneous contracts – if you work only for one client then that points towards employment – if you work for a number of clients, and even better if they overlap, then this points towards self-employment.
Risk – little or no commercial risk taken indicates employment – risk indicates self-employment. Risks could be responsibility for rectification of errors and mistakes or financial risk of a project overrun.
Responsibility for losses as well as profits – if the contractor is isolated against losses then that points towards employment – if there is a risk of losses then that points towards self-employment. Of course with a labour only service, making a loss is difficult, but the general flavour of the contract must be for risk to sit with the contractor.
Provision of equipment – if the client’s equipment is used then that points towards employment – if it’s -the contractors then that points towards self-employment. Obviously, it is not practical for a one man company to provide large items, but PCs for working at home, laptop computers, basic home office equipment, hand tools, etc, point towards self-employment.
Business structure – do you have a business structure behind you, eg staff, office premises, a significant investment in equipment.
Freedom to delegate and substitute – contracts of employment do not have a right of delegation or substitute. Where this right is included in the contract then it is a strong indicator of self-employment. A Court of Appeal judgement, Express & Echo Publications v Tanton, held that where a contract allowed services to be carried out by someone other than the contractor then it was a contract for services (i.e. self-employment) rather than a contract of service (i.e. employment); this applies even if the engager has a right of veto on the substitute.
Bearing cost of correcting defective work and errors – if you do not bear the risks of correcting defective work and errors then this indicates employment – if you do bear this risk, eg by having to carry out remedial work in unpaid time or as part of a fixed price/outcome contract, then that is an indicator of self-employment.
Freedom to choose where and when you work – being tied to the client’s site indicates employment – the ability to work at home indicates self-employment.
Integration – if you are integrated into a client’s organisation then that indicates employment – no integration indicates self-employment. Integration in this context could be work as part of a team, inclusion by name on the employer’s stationery or promotional literature, being on-call rotas.
Mutuality – mutuality of obligations points towards employment, i.e. the client is obliged to offer you work and you are obliged to accept it – non-mutuality points towards self-employment.

Most interim assignments will be caught unless it’s a project or programme with defined end date and complete autonomy.

Is it still worth doing interim work if caught? It depends on your rate if you decide to go back to a permanent role you will get additional benefits like sick leave, employee benefits and pension contribution but you will need to be a high earner for the salary equivalent to be on par with your contractor pay, even if the rates are reduced.

The main thing contractors can do to minimise their tax liability is to pay as much as they can into their pension. The allowance changes each year but in 2017 this is £40k and can be offset against your gross salary/fee. Note lower tax payers should salary sacrifice a maximum of 32k and higher taxpayers to sacrifice £24k maximum as you need to add the tax relief on top.

If caught you need to decide how you want to be paid.

PAYE via Agency- less administration and everything you earn yours to keep. You are not an employee, therefore, salary sacrifice will not apply.

Umbrella- similar to PAYE but you choose an independent third-party company to give you a contract of employment you will be tied to the Umbrella companies pension provider, you can keep the same umbrella for different assignments. There is an additional cost for paying the payroll company normally charged weekly. Other than filling in your time sheets there is no further administration. If you decide to move the Umbrella pension to your own private pension company you need to check if it will be accepted and whether if there any penalties applicable.

Limited – Inside IR35 you continue to have all the paperwork that you would have outside IR35 with no option to claim expenses or pay via low salary/ dividend structure. Accountancy fees etc still need to be paid. However, there is flexibility to choose your own pension provider and if you’re lucky enough to get assignments outside IR35 you can go back and forth easier with minimum disruption. You won’t have to pay corporation tax so double taxation is avoided.

Going inside IR35 with the pension allowance used to maximum capacity is your best bet if you have savings and can survive on a lower salary. This option will still give you a decent salary equivalent to someone permanent between 45-55k + depending on your day rate and allow you to put money away for retirement. Income you retain is disposable with a small amount put away into a savings account for a rainy day.

Lastly, seek independent financial advice!

 

Myers Briggs At Work

The Myers Briggs Type Indicator® is a personality type test used by organisations globally. Myers Briggs provides a framework for understanding the individuals operating system. Your MB type is made up of four letters and these four letters will help others understand and guess your reaction to different stimulation. If you understand your own type you can try and spot your strengths and weaknesses. If you know other people’s type you can work within their boundaries to make decisions, apply problem-solving solutions and generate better team working.

I did the Myers Briggs test and my type is INTJ. There are 16 possible personality type combinations.

Myers–Briggs
Subjective Objective
Deductive Intuition/Sensing Introversion/Extraversion
Inductive Feeling/Thinking Perception/Judging

In this instance, Extraversion means literally outward-turning and introversion, inward-turning

People who prefer extraversion feel energised with people if they feel inactive their motivation might be on the wane.  Introverts prefer to expend energy through action but they reflect and think about things first, they also need quite time alone to think before they act. At work, you might find someone who wants you to brief them straight away, they don’t need any papers in advance because they prefer to be energised by people. An introvert might prefer an email to warn them in advance so they can think and reflect before the meeting happens.

Sensing and intuition are the information-gathering (perceiving) functions. They describe how new information is understood and interpreted. People who prefer sensing are more likely to trust information that is in the present, tangible, and concrete: that is, information that can be understood by the five senses. They tend to distrust hunches, which seem to come “out of nowhere”.[1]:2 They prefer to look for details and facts. For them, the meaning is in the data. On the other hand, those who prefer intuition tend to trust information that is less dependent upon the senses, that can be associated with other information (either remembered or discovered by seeking a wider context or pattern). They may be more interested in future possibilities. For them, the meaning is in the underlying theory and principles which are manifested in the data.

Thinking and feeling are the decision-making (judging) functions. The thinking and feeling functions are both used to make rational decisions, based on the data received from their information-gathering functions (sensing or intuition).

Those who prefer thinking tend to decide things from a more detached standpoint, measuring the decision by what seems reasonable, logical, causal, consistent, and matching a given set of rules. Thinkers usually have trouble interacting with people who are inconsistent or illogical, and tend to give very direct feedback to others. They are concerned with the truth and view it as more important.

Those who prefer feeling tend to come to decisions by associating or empathizing with the situation, looking at it ‘from the inside’ and weighing the situation to achieve, on balance, the greatest harmony, consensus and fit, considering the needs of the people involved.

Extraversion/Introversion

The extraverted types learn best by talking and interacting with others. By interacting with the physical world, extraverts can process and make sense of new information. The introverted types prefer quiet reflection and privacy. Information processing occurs for introverts as they explore ideas and concepts internally.

The introverted types prefer quiet reflection and privacy. Information processing occurs for introverts as they explore ideas and concepts internally.

Sensing/Intuition

Sensing types enjoy a learning environment in which the material is presented in a detailed and sequential manner. Sensing types often attend to what is occurring in the present and can move to the abstract after they have established a concrete experience.

Intuitive types prefer a learning atmosphere in which an emphasis is placed on meaning and associations. Insight is valued higher than careful observation, and pattern recognition occurs naturally for intuitive types.

Thinking/Feeling

Thinking types desire objective truth and logical principles and are natural at deductive reasoning. Feeling types place an emphasis on issues and causes that can be personalized while they consider other people’s motives.

Feeling types place an emphasis on issues and causes that can be personalized while they consider other people’s motives.

Judging/Perceiving

Judging types will thrive when information is organised and structured, and they will be motivated to complete assignments in order to gain closure.

Perceiving types will flourish in a flexible learning environment in which they are stimulated by new and exciting ideas. Judging types like to be on time while perceiving types may be late and/or procrastinate.

 

What does RFX Mean

 

Have you heard of the term RFX and what does it mean?

The X is a substitute for I, Q or P

For example, RFI stands for Request for Information, this can be used to extract information about a company to be used with an accompanying scoring sheet to decide if the organisation is suitable for inviting to tender. The public sector uses a more formal form of RFI called the Pre- Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ/SQ). The RFI can also be useful for fact finding when warming up the market or building a view of the supplier landscape based on desktop research.

RFQ is typically used for three quotes and is sometimes known as a competitive quote. Typically procurement will not be involved in the buying decision for an RFQ because of the high volume and low value.

RFP stands for Request for Proposal and sometimes people use the term ITT or Invitation to Tender instead. Procurement is likely to be involved in RFP and ITT tenders because these are more likely to be high profile, higher value and more complex. A proposal is normally used when you buy an output such as consultancy services as the reliance is for the supplier to create a proposal that delivers a solution against the specified criteria.

Suppliers can find upcoming contracts on the Government portal Contracts Finder

CIPS Boilerplates

The source of the document is from CIPS, useful to reference when you need a refresh of key contract clauses

Framework Agreement FAQ

Framework Agreement FAQ for Public Sector Buyers

Why use a framework agreement instead of doing my own tender?

A framework agreement available for the wider public sector allows users to award a contract directly or using a mini competition depending on the accompanying buyer’s guide. Terms and conditions are set up, there is no need to do a PQQ and you should expect better pricing based on economies of scale.

  1. Single supplier framework agreement.
  2. Multi-supplier arrangements – Direct Award- ranked or Mini Competition
  3. Multi-supplier arrangements – Mini Competition only option
  4. Multi-supplier arrangements which allow both for contracts to be called off without opening competition, and for mini competitions. The decision as to which approach to use must be made on objective criteria set out in the initial procurement documents. (perhaps different lots)

Can I call off from  a framework set up by a different organisation

CCS frameworks are generally open to all of the public sector, and some organisations will set up a framework for their industry sectors. It depends on the “class” of organisation and if it’s listed as a contracting authority.  Therefore your organisation or classification needs to be named in the OJEU notice. If a contracting authority who uses a framework without being entitled to do so is, in effect, awarding a contract directly and without the proper element of competition and thus is laying itself open to a claim by a challenger for a declaration of ineffectiveness.

What are the minimum and maximum number of suppliers we can appoint to a framework agreement?

Minimum 1 or 3+

Can I have a framework that lasts more than 4 years

Most buyers are aware of the 4-year framework rule. Only in exceptional circumstances is it possible to have a contract for longer, for example, the investment cost outweighs the contract price for a 4 year period. If the contract is only for 4 years suppliers are unlikely to bid because of the time it takes for them to recoup the cost.

Can I make a call off for 2 years 3 months before the framework expires?

Technically you can make a call off but take into account whether if the call off period is in line with normal practice. The framework terms and conditions will no longer apply upon expiry, therefore, the call off contract will not be fully supported so in practical terms it’s advised that this is avoided.

Is it essential to be named on the  Framework as a contracting authority?

To avoid awarding an ineffective contract you should either be listed by name or belong to a class of contracting authorities. It’s normally easier to refer to a .GOV.UK webpage that contains a list of all relevant contracting bodies.

Can I add supplementary terms to the call off contract bespoke to my organisation?

Yes but the framework terms takes precedence

Do I have to guarantee work for the suppliers on the framework

A framework agreement is a call off contract where there is no minimum comittment or any guarantee that they will get any work. Make sure this point is included in the tender documents to avoid any ambiguity.

Do I need to do a 10 day standstill period for frameworks?

It’s voluntary but best practice to do a 10-day standstill

Do I need to do a Contract Award notice

You only need to do a contract award notice for the initial framework set up not for subsequent call offs.

Can I add new suppliers to the framework if one is not performing 

No this would be in breach of the regulations. Consider re-tendering the framework if this causes huge problems.

How do I apply the same award criteria when doing a mini competition?

The mini-competition is awarded to the supplier who best meets the award criteria specified. It is possible to vary the relative priorities of the call-off award criteria from those used at framework award. The proposed call-off criteria and the relevant weightings must be clearly stated in documents sent to suppliers in relation to the mini-competition.

If my framework is declared ineffective does that mean the call off is ineffective?

It’s best to seek legal advice the call off doesn’t automatically become ineffective unless part of separate legal proceedings.

Can I exceed the value of my original contact?

A contract/framework may change without re-advertisement in OJEU where: minor changes that do not affect its nature and not exceed the relevant threshold and not exceed 10% services/supplies) or 15% (works) of the initial value. It is best practice to include the terms and conditions or tender instructions that minor changes that do not affect its nature and are explicitly provided for in review or option clauses in the procurement documents.

In exceptional circumstances where additional works, services or supplies that ‘have become necessary’ where a change of supplier would not be practicable(for economic, technical or interoperability reasons) or involve substantial inconvenience/duplication of costs (limited to 50% of original contract price. The  authority must publish in OJEU a ‘ VEAT Notice of modifications of a contract during its term’

Can I divide the framework into Lots?

Yes, you must indicate whether tenders may be submitted for one, for several or for all lots. Decide if you want to limit the number of lots that may be awarded to one tenderer.Decide if you want to award contracts containing more than one lot.

 

Tender or State Aid for R&D Projects

It can be difficult to distinguish whether if a project is classified as State Aid or subject to competition.

OJEU (Tenders) State Aid

1)    Aid is granted through resources

2)    )Favours certain companies or the production of certain goods

3)    Distorts or threatens to distort competition

4)    Affects trade between members

 

OJEU- mandates companies to advertise contracts over £[current OJEU value]

 

State Aid is deemed to distort competition, therefore, the company can either a) apply for permission to proceed, b) rely on the di minimis rule ( under 146K- over 3 years) or c) Rely on Block Exemption (RD&I)
R&D= Exempt from EU Regs but if you pay the market price = EU competition A grant for R&D purposes only= State Aid

 

Fundamental Research
Aid for R&D Projects-Applied Research (Industrial and experimental development)
Aid for feasibility studies ( aim at overcoming market failure)
Aid for construction and upgrade of research infrastructures
Aid for innovation activities
Aid for innovation clusters
Feasability study means the evaluation and analysis of a the potential of a project which aims at supporting the decision making proves by objectively uncovering strengths and weakness
Pre- commercial procurement means the public procurement of R&D services where the contracting body does not reserve all the results and benefits of the contract exclusively for itself for use in the conduct of its own affairs but shares them. The contract must be of limited duration and may include a prototype or limited volumes of products or services must not be an object of the same contract.
R&D project means an operation that activities span across several categories of R&D. The work is intended to be an indivisible task. It may consist of several work packages including clear objectives and expected cost.
An undertaking carries out economic activity consisting of offering products or services on a given market.
Clause 2,2,1 RD& I Framework

Where a research organisation or infrastructure is used to perform contract research or provide a research service to an undertaking which specifies the terms and conditions of the contract, owns the results of the research activities and carries the risk of failure, not state aid will be passed to the undertaking if the supplier receives payment of an adequate remuneration for its services especially if:

–       The supplier provides its research or contract research at market price

–       Where there is no market price the research organisation provides its research service or contract at a price which reflects the full costs of the service and generally includes a margin in line with industry rates

–       Negotiations where the organisation negotiates to obtain the maximum economic benefit when the contract is concluded and covers at least it marginal cost

Where the ownership of the UPR remains with the research organisation, their market value may be deducted from the price payable for the services concerned

Collaboration- 2 independent parties pursue a common objective based on the division of labour & jointly define its scope, participate design and contribute to implementation share financial technology and scientific risk, as well as results. One or more party may bear the full cost of the project which relieves the other part of its financial risk. The T’s&Cs of a collaboration project, in particular, relating to cost sharing of risk and results, dissemination and rules on allocation of IPR must be conducted prior to the start of the project.
Collaboration projects carried out jointly the Commission considers that no indirect state aid is awarded  to the grant recipients due to favourable conditions of the collaboration if one of the following conditions is fulfilled:

-The grant recipient bear the full cost of the project

-IPR may be widely disseminated and any IPR resulting from the activities

-Grant recipient receive compensation equivalent to the market price for the IPR which result from their activities that resulted in the IPR, may be deducted from that compensation.

 If none of the conditions is fulfilled, the full value of the contribution of the research organisation to the project will be considered as an advantage for the collaborative undertakings to which state aid rules apply.
Compensation will be considered to be received if its equivalent to the market price if it enables the grant recipient to enjoy the full economic benefit of those rights where one of the following conditions are fulfilled:

-the amount of the compensation has been established by means of an open transparent and non- discriminatory competitive sale procedure

-an independent expert valuation confirms that the amount of the compensation is at least equal to the market price

-Negotiation of the compensation at arm’s length conditions in order to obtain the max economic benefit at the moment when the contract is concluded while considering its statutory objectives

-Right of first refusal  as regards IPR generated by the collaborative research where those entities expect a reciprocal right to solicit more economically advantageous tenders from third parties so that the collaborating undertaking has to match its offer accordingly

Public procurement of research and development services

 

We may procure R&D services from undertakings through both exclusive development and pre- commercial procurement procedures

 

An open tender procedure for the public procurement is carried out in accordance with applicable directives, the commission will generally consider that no state aid is present

 

In all other cases including pre- commercial procurement, the commission will consider that no state aid is awarded to undertakings where the price paid for the relevant services fully reflects the  market value of the benefits received by the public purchaser and the risk taken by the suppliers in particular where the following conditions are fulfilled

 

-the selection procedure is open, transparent and non-discriminatory and is based on selection and award criteria in advance of the bidding process

-Contract terms including IPR requirements made clear in advance

-Non-preferential treatment

– all results which are not IPR protected are allocated is required to grant the contracting body unlimited access to the results free of charge and to grant access to third parties e.g. non-exclusive licences under market conditions

Case Law Teckal Checklist

Teckal checklist

In summary, in order to ensure that your company benefits from the Teckalexemption and complies with the provisions of the proposed new procurement directive:

1.     There can be no private ownership or involvement and preferably no possibility of issuing shares to private sector participants at a later date, although if this is a possibility, this will not in itself undermine the ‘in-house’ relationship.

2.     Ensure that the constitution gives ‘decisive influence’ to the public sector owners, acting together. This should include the ability to determine the strategic objectives and significant decisions of the company, with any proposal to move outside an agreed business plan being referred back to the members. The participating authorities must each have the ability to appoint a representative to the board.

3.     The company constitution should include objects that are clearly focussed upon the public interest and there should ideally be a clear prohibition or limit on pursuing commercial activities.

4.     If there is a strong desire to undertake open market activity, this must not amount to more than 10% in terms of turnover of the activity of the company – ie at least 90% of the activity of the company must be for its public sector owners.

5.     Care must be taken to ensure: (1) with any group structures, that the element of control is present throughout; or (2) if the company is intended to mutualise at some point in the future, that the public sector owners will be able to step out with control passing to the employees.

If the shared services arrangement is to be by way of agreement or committee, without a joint company, then the five ‘Hamburg’ elements should be present:

1.     There must be genuine cooperation aimed at carrying out public service tasks with mutual rights and obligations.

2.     The arrangements must be solely concerned with the public interest.

3.     No more than 10% (in terms of turnover) of the activity in question can be carried out in the open market.

4.     Financial transfers between the parties must be limited to cost reimbursement only.

5.     There can be no private participation in any of the contracting authorities involved.