Senate Inquiry into the integrity of consulting services. Conflicts of Interest, Breaches of Contract and Unethical Behaviour.

by Peter Westlund, IMC National President and Board Chair. 16th May 2023


The Senate Committee Inquiry.

The Senate Committee Inquiry into the integrity of consulting services has the potential for the Institute of Management Consultants to play a key role in enhancing the professionalism and ethics of management consulting services delivered to all levels of government.


IMC’s submission.

The IMC’s comprehensive submission to the Inquiry describes our role as the peak professional organisation in management consulting and outlines how excellence and integrity and the highest standards of professionalism and ethics can be restored and delivered.

It can be found here:  Submissions – Parliament of Australia (

The International Council of Management Consulting Institutes (ICMCI), of which we are a founding member and The Australian Council of Professions (which represents close to one million professionals and their organisations in Australia including the IMC), both strongly support our submission.

The lack of integrity in consulting services is widely documented (including by the submissions) and reported in the mainstream media.

Our submission establishes a positive focus on the existing Code of Ethics, Guidelines, Competency Framework and Certification practices that presently apply to members of the Institute of Management Consultants. 

Peter Westlund, President IMC

IMC has the ISO 20700:2017 and the associated ICMCI Self-Declaration Checklists, as well as the IMC Code of Ethics.

These are essential documents for guiding and governing the behaviour of professional management consultants.  Conflicts of interest, breaches of contract and other unethical behaviour can be substantially reduced if not eliminated were these documents wholeheartedly adopted by the management consulting profession.


Suggested Actions

Our submission suggests courses of action for the Inquiry to consider, which includes requiring consulting services providers to the Australian Government to:

  • Adopt ISO 20700:2017 Guidelines for management consulting services and undertake Self-Declaration Checklist training.
  • Apply the Self-Declaration Checklist during contracting (a set of activities aimed at reaching an agreement) before providing management consulting services.
  • Adhere to a Code of Ethical Conduct recommended by the IMC.

In addition, we suggest:

  • The Australian Government recognises and ascribes a weighting to the CMC qualification when calling for tenders to provide management consulting services.


Too many labour-hire contractors

We are concerned about the proliferation of contracts for labour-hire-type contractors and not management consulting contracts, where consultants are accountable for their work.

The Australian Government intends to rely less on external management consultants and more on internal consultants.  Our professional development programs in ISO 20700:2017 and the Management Consulting Competence Framework establish our capability to enhance the skills of government personnel considered to be eligible as internal consultants. 

Often internal consultants do not have the breadth of experience across multiple environments and assignments to address complex organisational problems. At times may not have the standing within an organisation to propose solutions which challenge the status quo.


Offering to appear at a public hearing.

We have offered to appear at a public hearing to expand on our suggestions and respond to questions from the Committee. 

Public Hearings are planned for the 7th of June and the 17th, 18th and 19th of July in Canberra. 

Keeping you informed.

We will keep you informed of our progress to raise the profile of the IMC and obtain recognition for our role in promoting excellence and integrity in the management consulting profession.