"The Joint Consultants Forum will develop central and regional communities to achieve wider awareness and shared benefits through collaborative activities and events," says Rajan Anketell, chairman of the BCS Consultancy Specialist Group, who is representing the society in the forum with external relations manager Peta Walmisley.
"Representatives of the professional institutions have agreed to work together to promote the expertise of their independent consultant members, both to each other and to the broader market.
"The BCS Consultancy Specialist Group welcomes the formation of the Joint Consultants Forum and fully supports its aims and aspirations. Indeed, the specialist group hopes to play an active role."
The BCS is already leading the way with its online Professional Advice Register at www.bcs.org/par, which enables potential users of consultancy services to find the right consultants in different areas. All those listed on the site have been through BCS acceptance procedures.
"Internet directories are just one of the ways the last meeting recognised for such resources to be tapped," Anketell says.
Members of the forum include the Institute of Management Consultancy, the Institution of Electrical Engineers, the Institution of Incorporated Engineers, the Institute of Quality Assurance and the Operational Research Society. Others bodies are also expected to join.
Consultancy has emerged as a favourite topic for IT specialists, as shown by the huge response to the launch of the BCS Consultancy Specialist Group and the BCS Information Systems Examinations Board's (Iseb) Certificate in IS Consultancy Practice.
The specialist group's inaugural meeting was three times oversubscribed, and another 200-plus people expressed an interest. Early courses in the Iseb certificate were also oversubscribed.
The course syllabus ranges from client relationships to managing assignments, describing simple business analysis models and making client recommendations. It is assessed by a two-hour written exam and a 45-minute oral exam.
Mike Kearsley, who chairs the Iseb Consultancy Qualification Board, says, "The response has been very good indeed. We have some major training organisations approved and others interested - with some already talking about overseas and Web-based training."
Details of the certificate are at www.iseb.org.uk/conskills