Hundreds of professionals from across the UK consulting industry have tuned in remotely for the first ever digital edition of the MCA Awards. Arup and PwC scooped the most prizes, each claiming four individual and project prizes between them, at the virtually hosted event featuring BBC presenter Jeremy Vine and an address from the Minister for Business and Industry Nadhim Zahawi.
Due to the severity of the current coronavirus pandemic, earlier in 2020 the Managing Consultancies Association (MCA) took the unprecedented decision to host its annual awards ceremony – which was due to take place on the 23rd April at the Park Plaza Westminster – entirely online. For the first time in the ceremony’s 23-year history, this saw around 1,000 industry figures and clients congregate for a digital event co-hosted by MCA CEO Tamzen Isacsson and BBC presenter Jeremy Vine.
Introducing the night’s undertaking, Vine said that while the UK was still reeling from what he called “the biggest economic shock since 1720,” he insisted that similar to his experiences as a broadcaster, the pandemic had also given consultants an opportunity to strengthen relations with their clients. He added, “From a distance we can get closer.”
Nadhim Zahawi, Minister for Business and Industry, meanwhile stressed that the consulting industry will have an important role to play as the UK seeks to recover from the economic crisis brought on by coronavirus. While he admitted that that will not be easy work, the Minister adopted that most familiar of idioms among the consulting community; that every crisis also presents an opportunity.
Zahawi expanded, “As we turn our focus towards the task of rebuilding our economy, I am just as confident in saying that consultancy will play a critical role once again… Though there will be some difficult times ahead, there will be opportunities too. I believe the consultancy sector can thrive helping to power the UKs economic recovery, building back better because the UK consultancy sector is resilient, it is adaptable, and is one of the best in the world.”
As was the case last year, meanwhile, MCA CEO Tamzen Isacsson used her opening speech to champion her industry’s potential to help both public and private sector clients meet the challenges of today headfirst. She too noted that “turbulent times” such as these are also “times of opportunity – and responsibility – for an industry like ours, for a group of people with our skills and our imaginations.”
Isacsson added, “The landscape in which we do business is an uncertain one but we must not squander this opportunity to reshape the UK and the future of work in a positive way; to build the UK as a centre for entrepreneurship, innovation and digital leadership.”
Following the opening round of speeches, the MCA further lauded the important work carried out by consultants by handing out a total of 22 prizes including 12 project awards, seven individual awards and three overall awards. As is often the case with consulting industry award ceremonies, the Big Four of PwC, Deloitte, EY and KPMG took a large portion of those gongs – sharing 10 awards between them – however this year they were also met with stiff competition from the likes of Arup, who claimed four trophies, and BAE Systems and BearingPoint, who took home two each.
The prestigious Consultant of the Year category, for example, was eventually awarded to Louise Ellis from Arup, who had also impressed the judges in the individual category of Thought Leader Consultant of the Year. Ellis was commended for helping to shape the agenda in the high-profile area of water resilience and has experience of working with stakeholders across the world to find solutions to some of the toughest of challenges from drought in Cape Town to unprecedented sea level rises in Miami. In awarding the prize the judges stated that she was “a true ambassador of our industry in all senses and demonstrated commitment to the cause and delivered outstanding achievements.”
Elsewhere, Project of the Year went to EY, which also triumphed in the People category, for its work with the Metropolitan Police Service in designing and delivering a unique leadership programme for 10,000 officers. The scheme’s objectives were to improve operational performance, make the Met more inclusive, build public confidence and improve staff morale and engagement.
According to the MCA, this was so successful that it now forms a key part of the Met’s promotion curriculum for new managers and leaders.
The MCA 2020 awards winners and highly commended:
Best Use of Thought Leadership
Arup with Bernard van Leer Foundation and Real Play Coalition
More information: Arup launches VR tool to design child-friendly cities.
PwC with Microsoft
Change and Transformation in the Private Sector
PwC with Standard Life International
Vendigital with Newsprinters
Change and Transformation in the Public Sector
IBM with Scottish Government
Carnell Farrar with Isle of Wight NHS Trust
KPMG with Nursing and Midwifery Council
Arcadis with Southern Water
Vendigital with Bombardier Transportation
Data and Innovation in the Private Sector
PwC with Starling Bank
KPMG with HSBC
Data and Innovation in the Public Sector
BAE Applied Systems Intelligence with Royal Navy
Cognizant Consulting with The Football Association
More information: FA appoints Cognizant as official digital partner to boost women’s game.
Arup with Department for International Trade
More information: Arup and Mace supporting delivery of 2019 Pan American Games.
Performance Improvement in the Private Sector
BearingPoint with Slater Gordon
Performance Improvement in the Public Sector
PwC with Bedfordshire Police
BearingPoint with Hertfordshire Community Trust
IBM with DWP Digital
EY with The Metropolitan Police Service
Deloitte with Helpforce
Decision Technology with BT Group
EY with EDF
Young Consultant of the Year
Anju Jacob, Deloitte
Lewis McCormack, Arcadis
Mei Yan Pun, EY
Andrew Brough, Vendigital
Best New Apprentice
Lucy Rollinson, Deloitte
More information: Lucy Rollinson on consulting apprenticeship benefits.
Samuel Imie, Deloitte
Humaid Motala, PwC
Holly Armitage, BAE Systems Applied Intelligence
Ysabel Brown, Arcadis
Laila Takeh, Deloitte
Josh Hasdell, KPMG
Team Leader Consultant of the Year
Emma Booth, PwC
Laura Flynn, EY
Paul Rees Jones, EY
Innovation Consultant of the Year
Jonny Stephens, BearingPoint
Tyler Welmans, Deloitte
Thought Leader Consultant of the Year
Louise Ellis, Arup
Anna Somaiya, KPMG
Ally Robson, NECS Consulting
Andy Woodfield, PwC
Best New Consultancy
Consultant of the Year Winner
Louise Ellis, Arup
Project of the Year Winner
EY with The Metropolitan Police Service