Dodgy Consultancy – How I got shafted by a Consultancy

Dodgy Consultancy
Dodgy Consultancy

Dodgy Consultancy Shafted Contractor

Normall we report dirty tricks played on contractors by agencies but this one is by a dodgy consultancy firm.

This article is in response to our article Confessions of an Agent – How I cheated a contractor out of a month’s money.

You feel hard done by, read about this dodgy consultancy:

Contract with Consultancy

Last year I was got a contract with a partnering consultancy to a DTI project end client.

I went for three interviews before they offered me the position.

The first was with the consultancy with two interviewers. The next was with a senior business accountant. The third was with a project manager from DTI (more a confirmation discussion than an interview).

I started almost immediately but realised soon after starting that they started me prematurely. There were four weeks before the go live of Phase 1.

I was to work for Phase 2 only. Therefore, I spent the first four weeks just doing a bit of preparatory work, attending some training events and looking over history of the project, familiarising myself with the organisation etc.

High Levels of Pay

It was certainly not the kind of work warranting the high levels of pay I was getting.

After about two and a half weeks I suggested working on Phase 1. They refused this at first, but later did. That’s because, by then, it was evident that the Phase 1 staff were overstreched and I felt I could be of use.

I also did a bit of prep for phase 2, but not much as Phase 1 was a priority as it was an IT roll out.

Called by Agency

On the first Monday after the go live, the agency called me telling me that they no longer required me on the project.

My agent told me that it wasn’t anything to do with me. It was just that they had changed the profile of the project. It would equire someone with a different skills set.

They told me that the contractor who I was to succeed would be doing my role part time.

During this time of bad news, both the director of the consultancy, the DTI project manager, the agency and a contractor, whom I had worked reasonably closely alongside, confirmed that my contract termination had nothing to do with me or my performance.

Project Manager Angry

In fact the DTI project manager seemed angry when he discovered that the consultancy director hadn’t called me himself to explain the situation. Instead he left it to the agency. He took me for a coffee to explain what was happening, as did the contractor I worked alongside.

I believed them, given that I did not see what I could have done to warrant any sacking anyway.

They held the work I did in high esteem. My contractor supervisor gave me a written reference. He knew my work better than anyone.

Problems Started

The problem started when I contacted my agent about my notice period.

At first, the agent tried to impress upon me that the consultancy company needed to be told about it, and that they were unaware of this notice period.

The agent then rang back and said that that the consultancy were not aware of it and did agree to a notice period. However, it would not be at the DTI offices because, as far as they were concerned my funding had only been for the time I was on site. They were not responsible for any notice funding, due to being the end client, not the agency client.

When I finally spoke with the Director of the consultancy about what I was to do with the remaining month, he said he would arrange for some work, rather than let me leave and just pay me money in lieu of notice.

Fair enough.

Small Projects

They eventually gave me two small projects out of London lasting a total of 15 days. I did have issues relating to the distance, travel expenses etc. That’s even though they only hired me to work for the DTI in London, after all. However, we resolved all that.

I also queried the type of work they gave me on one project. I felt it was too junior for the rate they paid me. However, I willingly did the work and they praised me for my efforts.

After this 15 days was complete, the consultancy could not give me further work to bill to clients. That’s because the work they gave me was complete. That left the consultancy without any means to bill out for the rest of my notice period.

Dodgy Consultancy Dirty Trick

Instead of being gracious enough to back down and just pay me the remainder of my money even though I was at home, the consultancy then did the dirty on me and complained to the agency that they unprepared to pay me the remaining few days pay because, wait for it, my work had always been unsatisfactory, both at the DTI and since then during the notice period projects too.

In fact the agency e-mailed me to paraphrase what the consultancy HR representative had said to me.

Apparently, my face had never fitted at the DTI. I had upset someone there and there were criticisms about my attitude at the other two short projects. I was described as too academic too.

Went On Offensive

I then went on the offensive and detailed my case in full to the agency. So, I told them in no uncertain terms that I would sue for the money if they didn’t cough up. I was so angry at this sordid betrayal, and I have never really gotten over it.

My confidence has plummeted since this event.

In the end the consultancy did consult their legal team. They admitted that they had no case against me. However, my relationship with the agency is over. I doubt they will ever trust me again.

Thankfully, I work for other clients. They confirm my reputation and standing as being of the highest order from previous roles, and the DTI role).

Horrible Experience with Dodgy Consultancy

It was a horrible experience, involving a government body, a partnership consultancy to the DTI, and I still feel to this day that I was set up to fail from day one.

I was never given work to do, and meetings to define my role with the consortium head never took place. I had no one to report to either.

What I was embroiled in was a game of dirty office politics in which I was used as a pawn. There had been issues between the consortium team and the DT) and so both sides were on opposing fences concerning my role and what I was trying to set out to achieve.

You’ve highlighted some dodgy agencies. Now here’s a dodgy consultancy for you.

For more great advice on dealing with agencies click on Agencies.

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For all critical IR35 news and advice for contractors click on IR35 News.

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