A consultancy or training provider is defined as an organisation providing professional management advice, guidance, training, secondment of staff or support services enabling clients to continuously improve their performance.
Consultancy and Training Organisations shall protect the interests of their clients in all their dealings.
Application of Principle One
1.1 Providers should respect confidential information regarding a client's business, in perpetuity, and not disclose or permit the disclosure of any such information without the client's prior permission, or unless so ordered by a court or statutory body of competent jurisdiction.
1.2 Providers should not seek or encourage publicity concerning work for a client unless the nature of that publicity is fully agreed with the client.
1.3 Providers should refrain from inducing any employee of a client to consider alternative employment. (An advertisement in the press is not considered to be an invitation to any particular person.)
Consultancy and Training Organisations shall, before commencing an engagement to perform work, ensure that they have defined and agreed beyond reasonable doubt the terms of engagement, the nature of the task to be performed, how the work will be performed, the desired results of that work, how performance of the work will be evaluated and rewarded and the provision for termination.
Application of Principle Two
2.1 Providers should supply the client with a clear written proposal identifying the objectives, scope of work, fees or fee basis for any proposed assignment or training course.
2.2 Before commencing work, providers should ensure that there is full agreement with the client on:
2.3 Providers should take reasonable precautions to ensure that a fair agreement can be achieved by virtue of each party to the agreement understanding the parameters for the work being considered. This should include:
Consultancy and Training Organisations shall ensure that they accept only those assignments which they are qualified to perform with regard to experience, competence and resources; any significant diminution of ability to perform the work that occurs after engagement must be fully communicated to client organisations.
Application of Principle Three
3.1 Providers should not at any time communicate information about the scope of their services - or their competence, experience, qualifications and resources - that is inaccurate.
3.2 In the context of specific proposals or agreements to perform work, providers should similarly avoid commitment to perform work for which they are insufficiently qualified or experienced, and/or for which they have inadequate resources to perform to the standard which would be required without the client's prior knowledge or consent.
3.3 Providers should provide clients with the details of their qualifications and resources before engagement.
3.4 Providers should ensure that any significant diminution in their ability to perform the work is communicated fully to clients as soon as this is feasible. This would cover such examples as:
3.5 If providers become aware of any change in a client's circumstances which significantly limits their ability to perform the agreed work, they should notify the client accordingly.
Consultancy and Training Organisations shall ensure that they disclose to clients and potential clients without delay any relevant information or other circumstances which might in any way influence their engagement or their work for the client.
Application of Principle Four
4.1 Providers should, prior to engagement, disclose to a prospective client any personal or financial interests and circumstances of the organisation or individual personnel which might:
4.2 If any such information becomes known after engagement, this should be disclosed to the client without delay.
4.3 Examples of such information include the following:
Consultancy and Training Organisations shall have identifiable means in place to ensure that the work performed meets the objectives and requirements agreed with the client, and that any failures to achieve these are promptly addressed.
Application of Principle Five
5.1 Providers should maintain accurate records of the work performed for clients.
5.2 Providers should maintain effective communication with clients throughout the course of the work performed or training provided, to ensure clients are kept informed at regular intervals of: progress made, costs incurred, problems encountered in performing the agreed work.
5.3 Providers should disclose and agree any changes in key accountable personnel assigned to the agreed work.
5.4 Providers should ensure that at all times the advice or training given, and goods and services supplied, are suitable for the agreed purpose.
5.5 Providers should have systems to monitor the quality of service or training being provided, in order to ensure that the terms of the agreement to perform work are fully met.
5.6 Providers should avoid making recommendations that incur costs or work clearly in excess of what is required to perform agreed tasks.
5.7 During progress and at the conclusion of the work performed, providers should seek to ascertain from the client whether the nature of the work performed is viewed as satisfactory.
5.8 Providers should maintain clear procedures at all times to deal with the possibility of any disagreement or dispute with the client about the nature of the service provided.
5.9 To cover the possibility of any failure to provide services to the agreed standard, providers should ensure that - where the cause is attributable to the provider - an identifiable system exists to achieve an improved service in future.
5.10 In the event of any dissatisfaction or complaint expressed by a client, providers should make provision to reach agreement, as part of the contractual arrangements with the client.
5.11 In the event of a dispute arising out of an engagement under these principles, an adjudicator/arbitrator shall be appointed by agreement between the parties or, in the event of their failing to agree, by the President or Vice President for the time being of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators.
© The British Quality Foundation. Last updated 6 January 2012.