Ironically the worst area at the moment in terms of clients wasting communications consultants' time is the public sector. Here consultants are required to fill out painfully long pre-qualification questionnaires, which ask only the most ridiculous and inane questions, simply resulting in inclusion to 'a shortlist of 29' - an oxymoron in itself.
A practical guideline for the industry should be never to present specific ideas for free, never present to a client with a shortlist of more than three agencies and never fill in a pre-qualification questionnaire with a wordcount that can match War and Peace.
Both clients and agencies would be happier, and a lot more productive, with this arrangement.
Robin Swinbank, partner, The Counsel House.