Government consulting is a diverse form of consultation. Firms that offer these types of consultation services are often highly specialised and focused. The reason for this is that the consulting required by governments is far more elaborate than the consulting demanded in the business sector. Some agencies require traditional management consulting. However, governments also take advantage of consultation services, such as for security and war-related strategies, which are unneeded in the business world. The needs of a civil agency are much different from the needs of a law enforcement agency.
In addition, there are consulting firms who specialize in interfacing with governments around the world and offer these services to businesses. Businesses use these consulting firms to help them lobby. Lobbying is advocacy by constituents with the intention of influencing the decisions made by legislators and government officials in the locales where they live or do business. These types of government consultants implement strategies to leverage the business’ resources in order to influence political decisions.
In other forms of government consulting, consultants perform many of the same services for government agencies that their counterparts perform for business enterprises. One of the main differences between a government consultant and a business consultant is that he or she will have extensive training and experience in civil service. However, in larger scenarios where consultation teams are used, the team often includes a wide range of consultants with a dedicated government consultant being just one component of the whole.
Despite the many similarities, there are stark differences between a government entity and a business that in turn provide unique challenges to the strategists. The most notable difference is that government agencies do not generally attempt to turn a profit, and if they can, it is a secondary concern. In many cases, the agency is dealing with a fixed income so budget management exists in a very different context than it does within the business world.
Governments also employ consulting firms to act as liaisons between them and businesses in the private sector. Government agencies often have business contracts with these businesses. Prime examples of these contracts are the defence contracts between manufacturers and a country’s military. However, these contracts are far ranging and include many mundane services and products, such as food services and paper products. Nonetheless, due to the different needs of a government agency and a traditional business, the formation of large agreements can be difficult and require a professional specialised in tailoring them.