Kantar launches new arm for Governments and Public Sector

24 October 2016 Consultancy.uk

Professional services firm Kantar has launched a new arm that focuses purely on Government and Public Sector clients. The new business line, named Kantar Public, brings together expert teams from Kantar’s footprint across 12 countries, and will work with more than 40 Governments around the world, as well as many leading universities, NGOs and semi-public institutions.

With over 30,000 employees and clients in 100+ countries, Kantar, a subsidiary of WPP, is one of the world’s largest market research data, insight and marketing consultancy companies. 

In a bid to bolster its service portfolio to organisations in the public domain, Kantar has decided to bundle its offerings and teams into a new, global platform: Kantar Public. The new arm brings together Kantar’s expert sector teams from Kantar TNS, Kantar Millward Brown, Kantar IMRB and Kantar IBOPE, and will provide consulting, research and analytical services from offices in Amsterdam, Brussels, Delhi, London, Munich, Nairobi, Paris, Sao Paolo, Seoul, Sydney, Warsaw and Yangon.

Commenting on the launch of Kantar Public, Eric Salama, Kantar’s CEO, says: “We are proud of the work that we do in the public sector, which is growing fast. Its increasing importance in stimulating behavioural change in many aspects of societies requires the kind of expert resource and investment that Kantar Public will provide.” Kantar Public will, according to the CEO, advise in the delivery of public policy, public services and public communications, synthesise innovations in marketing science and support organisations with adopting data analytics, among others.

Kantar launches new arm for Governments and Public Sector

Kantar Public will work closely together with WPP’s Government & Public Sector practice, a collaboration which will allow for a “holistic approach to issues”, says Salama. To lead the new unit, the CEO has appointed Michelle Harrison, previously Global Head of the Political and Social Practice at Kantar TNS, as Global CEO. She will, in a dual, role also serve as Chair of Kantar Public UK and CEO of the WPP Government & Public Sector practice, a role which she currently holds.

Looking ahead, Harrison says she is confident Kantar Public can build up a presence in the professional services space. “I believe we have a unique toolkit, backed by a world leading research infrastructure, and are ideally placed to assist our clients in government, the public sector and global institutions.” 

Last month Kantar, with the aim of creating a more unified look and feel, harmonised the brand of its twelve operating groups globally.


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Manchester Mayor criticised for £250,000 consulting spend

19 March 2019 Consultancy.uk

The Mayor of Greater Manchester has been criticised for splurging hundreds of thousands of pounds on consulting fees before determining that the region’s fire brigade must slash its budget by millions. Andy Burnham put more than £250,000 towards work from ten consulting firms as part of a review into the region’s emergency services.

Despite the continued argument that projects like the Northern Powerhouse initiative are helping to address the North-South divide in the UK, statistics still show that the North has borne the brunt of austerity in England. Northern English cities have been disproportionately affected, with their spending cut on average by a fifth since 2010, while cities in the south and east of England had average losses of 9%.

The impact of spending cuts has been keenly felt in Greater Manchester in particular, where local government spending has fallen by as much as £650 per person since 2009 in some parts of the region. As the area looks to find further savings, while the Central Government continues to fail to deliver on its pledge to end austerity, it has been announced that the fire brigade for Greater Manchester faces a reduction of up to £10 million from its budget.

The swingeing cuts to hit the emergency service would likely see its fleet of fire engines reduced from 56 to 47, while six fire stations face closure, and 113 support staff could suffer the axe. The news follows an investigation from Mayor Andy Burnham, which was triggered in part by the admission of Chief Fire Officer, Jim Wallace, that since 2015 the service has failed to deliver “its own efficiency plan”.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham spent £268,300 to review the city’s fire service

The review itself has been far from inexpensive, however, and it has led some to accuse Burnham of hypocrisy. During the review of the fire service, which has delivered demands for the service to find major efficiency savings, the Greater Manchester Mayor reportedly splurged £268,300 in public funds on consulting work for his root-and-branch review.

According to local newspaper Manchester Evening News, Burnham tasked ten different consultancies with helping to compile the review, receiving payments ranging from £101,000 to £7,000. The largest amount was handed to Leicester headquartered P. Cooper & Associates for the expertise of a “senior change and transformation programme specialist,” while it was reported that another of the consultants gave “guidance on leadership and culture”.

A Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) spokesman said of the spending: “The Programme for Change programme has required input from specialists who are expert in areas such as organisational transformation, operating models for fire safety and estates.”

Manchester’s fire brigade was criticised in 2017 when, in the wake of the Manchester Arena bombing, a report by Lord Kerslake noted crews had been held back from helping. Contrary to helping deliver a more efficient service, Unison has told the press that it believes the proposed cuts will make the residents of Greater Manchester “less safe”. With the expenditure of the review on private sector consultants now public, meanwhile, the union has slammed the report for throwing away public funds while jeopardising vital public sector work.

Unison represents the 113 staff who may lose their jobs, and a spokesperson for the union told Manchester Evening News, "It's disappointing that when finances are clearly tight, priority has been given to hiring external consultants rather than engaging with the workforce. This will be a shock to our members who were only told on Monday their jobs were at risk."

In recent years, a succession of local authorities have come under fire from officials and the general public for their consulting spending in the UK. Earlier in 2019, a freedom of information request by The Times revealed that local councils across the UK have spent around £400 million on consulting firms in the last year alone. According to the report, this represents a rise of more than a fifth since 2014, with critics using the figures to call into question the value added by engaging external expertise.

Commenting on the criticism many councils face, Tamzen Isacsson Chief Executive, Management Consultancies Association, said, “Consultants play a vital role in the public sector, [providing] transformational impacts, innovation and increased efficiency… Vital front line services continue to operate uninterrupted [while] consultants often help local authorities get better results with less money. As the MCA awards this year demonstrate consultants are delivering social benefits across the UK – from work on getting better outcomes for children in care to finding better processes for finding homes for vulnerable families in London these examples offer a true reflection of the consulting excellence that operates across the UK to the benefit of councils and the wider society.”