Case study

Routes to Engagement

How to get involved in a project

Discover the different routes to engage with clients, from competitive sourcing (public procurement and private) to existing frameworks or direct approaches

There are a number of ways to engage with organisations and private and public sector clients for consulting opportunities. These include:

>   Route 1: Competitive sourcing – public procurement
>   Route 2: Existing framework or agreement
>   Route 3: Competitive sourcing – private sector
>   Route 4: Direct client approach (non-competitive)

Route 1: Competitive sourcing – public procurement

This is the traditional route of public procurement where government organisations must advertise all project opportunities above the minimum threshold of £10,000. A Request for Proposal (RFP) is published, normally via a tender portal, and all interested suppliers are eligible to participate by submitting their proposal, outlining how they will meet the project specifications and requirements.

Example: The Big Conversation - Research Pilot (British Council, 2021)


The British Council commissioned the Big Conversation’s Pilot Study to convene research and dialogue on shared values, advance wider understanding of the role of values in international cooperation, as well as develop new evidence-based approaches which can enhance trust and understanding between different people, leading to more effective cooperation on shared global challenges.

Route to engagement

LSE Consulting routinely monitors several tender portals. One of our strategies is to focus on clients that work on issues related to the academic research conducted at LSE. This is how LSE Consulting found this opportunity, found a team to bid, and successfully submitted a proposal.

As a result of this initial engagement, LSE Consulting has forged a strong working relationship with the British Council which has led to new projects being commissioned.

Importance and impact

The project highlighted a number of implications for cultural institutions, including the importance of evidence-based approaches to building connections, understanding, and trust internationally; the importance of convening dialogue among their diverse networks; how research organisations can form effective partnerships with cultural institutions to generate innovative new research on global values and soft power; and how cultural institutions represent the values of open societies and should embed these systematically at the heart of their purpose, strategy, and programming.

Contacts and partnerships developed

This project is an example of a strong working relationship with a client, contributing to a long-term engagement, further opportunities, and successful projects.

Read the report 


Route 2: Existing framework or agreement

Organisations seek a group of preferred suppliers for projects on key topics which provides a faster route to engagement. Only preferred suppliers are eligible to bid for opportunities advertised under the framework.

Example: Provision of Loneliness and Community-Led Housing Research (MHCLG, 2019 – 2021)


The UK Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG) was seeking to understand the impact of cohousing in reducing loneliness. They commissioned three locally evaluated case studies to look at housing more broadly. Their secondary objective was to build support for this type of housing and encourage Commissioners and Housing Associations to consider the social impact of these models when planning new housing.

Route to engagement

LSE Consulting holds a pre-competed framework contract, the Crown Commercial Service, in which UK government departments are eligible to advertise opportunities and/or use the framework to issue contracts for specific projects over minimum thresholds. This offers a faster route for government departments to directly engage with clients.

An LSE academic responded to a project opportunity advertised by the UK Ministry of Housing, Communities, and Local Government (MHCLG). The academic approached LSE Consulting for proposal support and ensured we were registered under the Crown Commercial Service portal to participate. The academic then used existing networks to bring in partners at University of Bristol and Lancaster University.

Importance and impact

This project aimed to galvanise support for the community-led housing sector, particularly with Councils and Commissioners. This local support means that this sector is able to deliver locally affordable new homes in places and on sites where commercial speculative house builders cannot.

Contacts and partnerships developed

This project involved partnerships with experts from the University of Bristol and Lancaster University. 


Route 3: Competitive sourcing – private sector

Private sector companies might advertise project opportunities in which they are seeking proposals from interested suppliers. In these instances, companies often share the opportunity directly with a shortlist of experts/institutions who they have identified as suitable.

Example: Corporate Culture Consultancy Project


Organisational culture is the shared values that guide behaviour within institutional settings. It is created and maintained in social interaction and difficult to change. Investigations into dimensions of culture have favoured employee interviews and questionnaires due to their construct validity, but they have numerous limitations such as social desirability, subjectivity, sampling errors, and limited longitudinal analyses.

Unobtrusive measurements overcome these challenges, increase measurement diversity and comparison with self-report data, and are useful for studying aspects of culture not easily investigated through surveys. Unobtrusive measures enable the analysis of what can be observed rather than what people might say. They examine the unstated, taken for granted, and non-conscious “underlying assumptions” that are theorised to underpin culture.

Our Organisational Culture experts have designed a tool (UCCAT) to deal with the multi-layered nature of organisational culture and diverse measurement issues. UCCAT has a large potential for application in management and decision-making. By using this tool, this Corporate Culture Consultancy project has enabled an empirical understanding to drive organisational effectiveness by providing measures of relevant cultural dimensions that had an impact on key indicators of performance and processes within the company.

Route to engagement

The client had read research from the academic experts and made a direct approach to explore how they could use the existing research and methodology to assess their own organisations corporate culture.

Importance and impact

The project has:

  • Identified strengths and weaknesses within the company
  • Assessed the resilience of the corporate culture
  • Benchmarked against other organisations within the client’s industry 


Route 4: Direct client approach (non-competitive)

Private sector clients may have already identified experts or LSE as an institution to work with and reach out directly to discuss their project needs. Where there is a mutual interest to proceed, a proposal is prepared describing the scope of work, budget and timeline.

Example: Partnership for Health System Resilience and Sustainability


A leading pharmaceutical company sought to commission a project to strengthen health system resilience and sustainability to improve global health.The COVID-19 pandemic has tested many countries’ health systems beyond their limits. In doing so, it has called into focus the resilience and sustainability of countries’ health systems and economies as an overriding global priority.

Route to engagement

Through an existing direct relationship, the client approached an LSE academic expert to discuss the potential of the project. They worked together to develop a project idea, discussed the scope of work, timeline and potential budget. The academic then reached out to LSE Consulting to support the proposal preparation and budget finalisation. LSE Consulting liaised with the client to contract the project.

Importance and impact

The project offered a unique opportunity to engage with partners globally in efforts to achieve health system resilience and sustainability goals. A validated, legitimated, and widely-adopted framework to understand and compare countries’ relative states of health system resilience and sustainability has the potential to enable the identification of challenges and opportunities and development of policies and solutions, help build consensus, and, ultimately, drive action at national and international levels.

Contacts and partnerships developed

Alongside health stakeholders, the project involved a partnership with the World Economic Forum.