We interviewed Flint Manager Ed Gibbs about his recent experience working on secondment to support one of Flint’s clients, to understand the benefits this growing part of Flint’s offer provides to clients and to Flint staff. Before working at Flint, Ed worked in the UK Parliament as a senior aide. Prior to working in Westminster, Ed was a consultant for a professional services firm in London, before taking on an in-house role at a large US investment bank. During this time, Ed specialised in helping these institutions to understand and apply complex UK and EU regulations as part of their day-to-day business strategy.
A large, globally recognised, UK-based manufacturer was in urgent need of additional government affairs support. Their small team needed to bring in extra resource at speed; I joined them at short notice, boosting their capacity in a matter of days, rather than the months it would have taken to recruit a full-time member of staff. This meant I could be “on the ground”, and embedded in their team straight away, integrated with their work and helping them to deliver.
I learnt a huge amount about what industry really needs and values from external consultancy support. Information overload is not helpful. Bespoke, targeted advice, that speaks directly to the challenges and opportunities specific to that company, in that moment, and that thoughtfully works through what the options are, is what really helps government affairs teams to give their organisation an edge.
I was working in such an integrated way with the client, and immersed in their business, that I felt I could really identify how to add value day-to-day, and often hour-to-hour. I would also say that being plugged into the wider Flint network allowed me to bring lots of additional value to the work. Throughout my secondment I was able to share analysis and insight, prepared by my expert colleagues at Flint, across a range of political, policy, regulatory and economic developments relevant to their business. A Flint secondment gives clients a great opportunity to get to know members of our team, access our advice and develop an understanding of how we work and the type of support we can offer. In this case, a successful 7-month secondment has grown into a longer-term relationship with the client, with us now pivoting to ongoing consultancy support.