Horses for courses, in our 'gig-society'​

When I set up Augmentas, I thought everyone should and must be an employee to be committed to us, our brand and our values. I was wrong on two counts. The first was that employment doesn’t work like that anymore; the second, was that inclusive relationships, mutual respect and caring leadership bring all of the values.

We quickly developed seven different employment models, providing everyone with the ideal way they wanted to work, to balance their own life. For the second, we created a team of colleagues – wrapped in an Alumni, that prides itself on values. We select carefully, so the right characters are selected as much as the right skills.

Obvious, I’m sure. With hindsight.

But working through this process also made me look at the four different models our public sector employs for its skills gaps:

1. Public and civil servants
2. Independent contractors through agencies
3. SME consultancies and managed services
4. Top level-consultancies

Public and civil servants

The first is essential to any business, especially the public sector, where civic duty and purpose are critical, as are specialist knowledge and skills. The NHS and military are in this group to name but two. We need longevity in the core holding corporate knowledge and long-term vision.

Independent contractors through agencies

The second is useful to fill a short-term or project-based gap, or while a recruitment campaign is running to fill a vacancy – or even if it fails to recruit at all. These should be used sparingly, for specific outputs or outcomes and be rigorously performance-managed to extract the true value from what can often be considered an ‘expensive’ resource.

SME consultancies and managed services

The third model is for those services where important skills and experience are needed, in a coordinated manner, offering more than simply capacity. They should bring a collective worth that is more than their sum, real added value and commitment. And expertise – with the experience to back it up.

Top level-consultancies

The last are incredibly important for their research, global reach, high-risk, high-profile projects or advisory pieces that the high premium is fully justified.

If this simple categorisation was adopted, I am sure we would see consultancy costs of the public sector drop enormously, while quality improved. Having the right player on the pitch in the right position makes a lot of sense, doesn’t it?

If you want more information and advice on understanding government procurement and the challenges it faces, contact Augmentas on +44 (0)203 918 8550 or email

About Glenn St. John-Colgan FIoD MCIPS

Glenn is the managing partner of Augmentas Group, a specialist in the field of commercial, contract and project management. Augmentas Group has acted as an extension of civil service teams to help control large consultancy projects for DEFRA, BEIS, Cabinet Office, Foreign & Commonwealth Development Office, Ministry of Justice, Office of National Statistics, and the Houses of Parliament. The team’s decades of experience within government procurement and contract management helps drive better supplier performance, supplier social value and accountability, boost efficiency and reintroduce value for money, while improving the retained skillset within the civil service. This last aspect was recognised by being finalists in both CCS Procurex Go! Awards and CIPS Excellence Awards, 2020.