Report on the Use of External Consultants by Northern Ireland Departments
NIA 43/11-15, Fifth Report of Session 2011-2012
- Northern Ireland Assembly: Public Accounts Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
'Report on the Use of External Consultants by Northern Ireland Departments (NIA 43/11-15)' identifies that Northern Ireland departments (including agencies, non-departmental public bodies and health trusts) have spent more than £150 million on external consultancy services over the period 2005-06 to 2010-11.
During its previous hearing on this subject, the Committee noted that the cost of external consultancy to Northern Ireland Civil Service departments and related bodies had more than doubled in five years, and appeared to be out of control, and too often used in an attempt to provide protection for civil servants' decision making.
Since then, there has been a significant reduction in the amount of spending on external consultants. The latest annual spend is approximately £14 million, compared with a peak of £42 million in 2006-07.
Recommentdations by the Committee include:
Post-project evaluation results should be shared more widely across the public sector to ensure that key lessons are identified and disseminated.
Single tender actions must be fully justified and subjected to a challenge-process to be reported to each departmental Accounting Officer, making all details publicly available.
The use of fixed price or incentivised contracts with well-defined outputs rather than simply paying external consultants for the amount of time they spend on the project, which risks being open-ended.
Improvements to Account NI coding to make information on external consultancy and other types of professional services more robust and accessible.
|Format||Paperback||Published||18 Apr 2012|
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