Lancaster University Consultancy Service

Lancaster University Consultancy Service

Lancaster University is committed to supporting staff engagement with external businesses, public bodies and community organisations, by enabling staff to deliver against consultancy opportunities with external organisations.

To ensure practical support is available, the University provides a managed service for consultancy, supporting pricing, negotiating, contracting and invoicing. We take care of the contracting arrangements for you, so that you can focus on the delivery of the work. Staff delivering consultancy through the University’s service will therefore be covered by the University’s indemnity insurance while undertaking the work.

Defining Consultancy

Consultancy is the provision of expert advice based on existing knowledge. Unlike research, the purpose of undertaking consultancy is not to create new original knowledge, although new information based on the application of expertise to a client’s challenge or problem may result from the work.


Most consultancy is recognised as ‘Individual Consultancy’, an opportunity initiated between a member of staff and an outside organisation that does not make a significant call on University resources. It is normally delivered outside of workload, so does not affect the delivery of teaching, research or other key role-related duties. In most cases the University provides the service without a charge for these opportunities. However, the cost of any University resources used must be recovered before final payments are made.

The University provides the service to encourage consultancy as one of the primary ways of engaging with external organisations, ensuring knowledge exchange and creating impact from research. There can be many indirect benefits as networks are extended and longer-term relationships formed, sometimes leading on to student placement opportunities, or collaborative research applications and more. The contemporary experience gained from consultancy can also feed into teaching, benefitting students and even inform new, relevant research ideas.

Consultancy requires the approval of a Head of Department, a Director or other authorised approver. This provides a check around any potential conflicts of interest, or over-commitment. A simple online ‘application and approval’ form is provided to capture all the details needed to set up and contract for the opportunity, and to gain consent of the relevant approver.

The Consultancy Process

The process for setting up a consultancy project has been streamlined to enable a fast, efficient response that will meet business expectations in terms of turnaround. The basic steps are:

  • First contact to discuss your opportunity and seek advice or clarify pricing
  • When ready to proceed complete the application and approval form which can be found here: Consultancy Application Form
  • An approval request is generated by submission of the form and sent to your approver, with a copy sent to the Consultancy Team
  • The Consultancy Team will then contact you to finalise details and propose an agreement with the client
  • Once an agreement is in place, the Consultancy Team will arrange for a project code to be set up against which any costs or travel can be booked
  • You are responsible for the delivery of the project for the client, and informing the Consultancy Team of any milestones, delays and completion
  • The Consultancy Team will then arrange for invoicing, followed by payment or transfer of the funds to you or the department as indicated in your application form

Payment for individual consultancy can be made to salary (subject to all tax and NI deductions), or to personal research accounts where these are available to you (spending from these is subject to normal University spending rules). You may even choose to arrange a voluntary additional pension contribution to coincide with your payment. This can be a very tax-efficient way to receive the income. Some staff also opt to make a percentage donation to their department. A preferred split between these choices can be indicated on the application form.

The Consultancy Service can also support ‘University Consultancy’: For a number of roles across the University, it is part of the core role description to deliver consultancy and related income-generating opportunities for the University. In such cases the work is considered to be part of normal workload, and the income is returned to the relevant department with estates and indirect costs accounted for in the appropriate way. If there is any doubt surrounding the status of a consultancy opportunity, it is the approver who confirms the designation. Please ensure all ‘University Consultancy’ is marked as such on the application form.

Staff may choose to deliver consultancy outside of the University and without support, however approval is still required under the HR policy ‘Rules Governing Outside Professional Activities’, which can be found on the policies section of the HR website. We aim to make the Consultancy Service as effective as possible, so if it does not currently meet your needs, please do get in touch and let us know why. We will endeavour to take all feedback into account as we develop the service further.

Contact Us

If you wish to discuss a potential project, or get started with Lancaster University Consultancy Service, contact us at: