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What Does a Government Consultant Do?

By Jan Fletcher
Updated Mar 03, 2024
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A government consultant is an expert who provides consulting services and advice to governmental agencies. Those who work in this profession may be contracted to provide services at the local, regional or national levels of government. Experts who work in this capacity often apply their skills to assist governments in improving delivery of services, or to understand what matters most to various constituencies. Another activity often performed by government consultants is compiling studies and data for use by those who create policies and procedures for government agencies. Tools used in government consultant jobs may include constituent surveys, scientific analysis, or environmental assessments.

The types of expertise and services offered by a government consultant may span a very broad range, as governments at all levels provide a wide variety of services for constituents. A government consultant might design or make recommendations to improve governmental programs like public transportation, or health-delivery services, for example. Just as in the realm of private enterprise, government consultants may be used for short-term projects, or may be brought in to share expert knowledge for the duration of one particular project. An example of this might be a governmental agency hiring an agricultural consultant to analyze the economic drivers that contribute to or negatively impact economic prosperity for small farming operations.

A government consultant may also analyze and make recommendations to improve delivery of government services. This often involves conducting studies or surveys of constituents in order to gather information on how well the delivery system is currently operating. Sometimes the consultant is considered to have a more objective view, as he or she often views the situation with a fresh perspective. At other times, the consultant may have expertise in a particular area, and his or her services may be more cost effective for a one-time use than bringing a full-time employee on board in an agency.

Obtaining a better understanding of a particular constituency is yet another task a government consultant may do. Particularly in democratic societies, government officials generally seek to maintain positive relationships with constituents. A government consultant may develop surveys, or design and conduct scientific investigations on behalf of governments. By analyzing current government services in this way, a consultant may come up with recommendations for achieving better performance in the delivery of government services to a particular population.

Consultants may also be used by government agencies to devise public awareness campaigns that seek to reduce public health hazards. In this instance, a government agency may hire a public relations consultant to develop a campaign that seeks to instill a change in behavior among the populace. Just as in the commercial realm, governments around the world frequently use outsourcing to recruit experts. In some cases, government consultants work from the opposite side, and assist companies in understanding how to obtain contract work with governmental agencies.

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