The global skills and competency framework for the digital world

#92 Add in an entry point at responsibility level 4 for the CNSL skill change request deferred

I have worked in a consulting firm for 20 years and we have found that our entry point is actually at SFIA level 4. Our senior consultant role is at level 5 and our principal consultant role is mainly at level 6. This should not be confused by the fact that may contractors refer to themselves as 'consultants. as borne out by ACS surveys where some respondents claimed to have that skill at SFIA level 3! Our entry level consultants were expected to actually expected to consult and to understand and deliver to client requirements in a wide range of situations. I would still assess them as being at level 4 at this entry level.


Proposed change applies to Consultancy

Current status of this request: deferred

What we decided

Deferred.  Will be kept in the backlog of change requests and considered during continuous consultation.

What we changed

a prototype for CNSL 4 is included in SFIA 8 beta release

Andy Thomson
Apr 25, 2019 02:41 PM

I agree with Michael's observation that Consultant has become a euphemism for Contractor! I think the CNSL skill was written implicitly for "management consultancy", hence a Level 5 entry-point. Many consultants are leveraging technical/professional expertise, rather than management/business expertise.
My own experience endorses Michael's, that Senior and Principal consultants are operating at Levels 5 and 6, therefore a "Consultant" would typically be 'doing consultancy' at SFIA level 4. I wonder if Business Analysis (BUAN) would fulfill this need but, meanwhile, I offer the following wording for CNSL Level 4, as a starter for consideration and from which there's a clear step up to Level 5:

"Engages with client stakeholders in the context of a consultancy engagement, to address their needs by providing relevant advice and guidance and delivering specified outcomes."

Ian Seward
Apr 25, 2019 03:44 PM

My own tuppence worth: I feel CNSL is not 'contracting' - however much we may like to inflate our titles. The contractor (hired-help) is not providing consultancy they may be operating at SFIA Level 3,4,5,6 using a number of skills that they have ... e.g. an experienced contract business analyst is just that a business analyst, a contract project manager is just that a project manager.

Having worked for one of the Big (5 or 6), Consultant is a grade and a badge even if they are used on a customer site as hired-help (contractor) at SFIA Level 3, 4, or 5.

I have no problem with an entry-level 'C', (typically being placed with a client) being Level 4 - I think I agree with that and the skills they provide could be almost any of the 102 currently in SFIA. I'm also comfortable that a Senior Consultant would be SFIA Level 5 and a principal probably SFIA Level 6.

What I'm uncomfortable with is making every contractor a consultant just because they are not full-time-employee of the organisation they are working in. After all don't we all have consulting skills ...

If the consensus view is that CNSL goes down to Level 4 then Andy's words seem a pretty good basis. We should clarify the CNSL Skill definition too as part of this and perhaps offer guidance somewhere as to when a 'C' is a 'C' and when it is not ...

Michael Davies
Jun 02, 2020 06:17 AM

I am still of the belief that this skill needs a level 4 entry. Perhaps we need to rename the skill as "Management consulting" to emphasis that it is NOT a predominantly technical role (which is where TECH fits in). Above all, it is NOT a skill that is usually associated with agency contractors who provide skills such as USUP, ASUP, ITOP, NTAD, DBAD, SYSP and similar to organisations that have a short to medium need for those skills and do not want to recruit permanent staff for those temporary roles.

Here is another suggestion for wording at level 4:

Takes responsibility for elements of a larger consulting engagement, often under the guidance of a more senior consultant. Understands client requirements by collecting data, delivering analysis and working collaboratively to develop and implement problem resolutions. Collaborates with stakeholder groups, as part of formal or informal consultancy engagements. Seeks to address client needs, within the defined scope of reposibility, enhancing the capabilities and effectiveness of client personnel, by ensuring that proposed solutions are properly understood and appropriately exploited.

Ian Seward
Jun 02, 2020 08:00 AM

I think Michael's suggestion for a L4 makes sense and his proposed wording is good and this change and the proposed wording should be taken to the DAB as there is good argument and concrete wording proposed.

I'm not generally keen on adding 'qualifiers' to the skill names, where we have in the past we have actually removed some of the generic aspects of a skill and the framework as a whole. So I'd prefer it stays at 'Consultancy'. But that said his first para describing the situation is good guidance - somewhere there should be explanation of what Consultancy is NOT - more appropriate in some guidance probably and his wording is useful in this.

Ian Seward (General Manager)
Mar 05, 2021 09:43 AM

I support this change but her is an addtional suggestions: This skills might benefit from the 'Guidance Notes' paragraph that has been liked in other skill drafts

Ian Seward (General Manager)
Mar 05, 2021 09:43 AM

I support this change but her is an addtional suggestions: This skills might benefit from the 'Guidance Notes' paragraph that has been liked in other skill drafts