Finding Support and Advice

In addition to thinking about what type of advice is needed an organisation promoting a project needs to think about how they will communicate what they need to a consultant and how they will manage their input. Professional advisors are specialists who may find it difficult to communicate in simple terms. Dealing with them will therefore require:

Preparation – a tailor made brief or instructions produced for the advisor based on the project objectives. There are specific issues that may need to be addressed when briefing building design professionals that are covered in this section of the portal, but as a minimum the briefing should include clear information on the following:

  • What the advice asked for is to achieve for the project.
  • Who the project is intended to benefit
  • What problems the project is intending to solve
  • What the future of the project may be
  • What sort of resources are being targeted for the project
  • The land and building assets that are to be acquired or developed as part of the project.
  • Any particular concerns or queries which need to be addressed should be highlighted as well as any ideas about the project that should be taken on board when giving advice.

Clear communications – ensure that it is clear exactly who is empowered to issue instructions or receive advice from advisors for the project.

Whatever the circumstances, the following general principles should be applied to the selection of all advisors and contractors to provide advice and services:

  • They should be suitably qualified - This can be checked by ensuring that they are registered with a relevant professional body. All advisors will also be accustomed to providing evidence of their qualifications and experience.
  • They should be suitably insured - Evidence (policy certificates) can be requested from potential advisors that they are insured against any liabilities arising out of the work they do.
  • They should have relevant experience - Projects are often complicated and advisors with experience working for not for profit community based organisations may not be easily available in every area. Potential advisors can be asked for references from previous clients. These should be followed up in writing and over the telephone with the referee - preferably a person who had direct contact with the advisors concerned.
  • They should be well briefed.