Use of External Consultants by Northern Ireland Departments: Follow-up Report
- Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO)
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
Over the period 2005-06 to 2009-10, Northern Ireland departments have spent £144 million on external consultancy services, 'Use of External Consultants by Northern Ireland Departments: Follow-up Report' finds. Expenditure peaked in 2006-07 at £42 million but subsequently fell to £19.5 million in 2009-10.
In June 2004, the Northern Ireland Audit Office reported on the use of external consultants (listed below): departments were failing to comply fully with Department of Finance and Personnel (DFP) guidance and there was considerable scope to improve their procurement and management of external consultancy services.
This follow up study finds that Departments have demonstrated a significant improvement in compliance with DFP guidance and good practice. In particular there has been greater compliance in the preparation of business cases, adherence to competitive tendering arrangements and completion of post project evaluations.
However, the report identifies a number of key areas where further improvements are required:
some 40% of contracts encountered cost overruns;
a substantial number of business cases did not fully comply with DFP guidance in terms of content and were not sufficient for the assignment being undertaken;
of 86 contracts examined, 16 (with a value of £0.9 million) had not been competitively tendered; and
the results of post project evaluations are not being disseminated throughout departments or the wider public sector.
In 2008, DFP gave a commitment to the Public Accounts Committee that comprehensive and accurate data on all consultancy expenditure would be available at the touch of a button through the Account NI system. This is not happening and it needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
|Format||Paperback||Published||15 Jun 2011|
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