Consultants- well we won’t knock them too much – after all you may be one; but according to the latest data from the National Audit Office, central government spent around Â£1.8 billion on consultancy in 2005-06, with total public sector spending on consultants estimated at around Â£2.8 billion for 2005-06.
Actually, the year saw a slight decrease in spending on consutlants by central government, but then again, spending on these venerable people across the public sector has risen by 33 per cent between 2003-04 and 2005-06, largely because of increased spending in the NHS. Over the past three years, two of the services most consistently bought in by central government have been programme and project management and IT.
Are these consultants working for the government? The National Audit report certainly thinks it could do better, and said government departments rarely make a proper assessment of whether internal resources could have been used instead of consultants. It also said that for the most part, departments don’t collect adequate information on their use of consultants, such as performance reviews, to improve their buying decisions and understand better the benefits they bring. They don’t usualy actively engage with key consulting firms to understand how they work; and neither do they regularly plan for and carry out the transfer of skills from consultants to internal staff to build internal capabilities.
© Investment & Business News 2013