Monday, January 02, 2006

Gershon Well Ablaze

The Gershon Review was never very convincing. Gordo reckoned he had found a way to save £21bn by eliminating government waste, but most of it was no more than woolly aspiration. We were particularly concerned that it could actually increase spending on useless "facilitating" nonsense like the £300m "Efficiency Challenge Fund".

Our fears are being realised. The Times reports that spending at the Office of Government Commerce (OGC- the Treasury offshoot in charge) on “external consultancy services” has nearly doubled, from £5.8 million to £9.2 million between 2003-04 to 2004-05. "The majority of the contracts were won by QI Consulting, KPMG, Cornwell Management and Mott Macdonald."

Of course, this is just the latest addition to overall government spending on consultants, which is truly massive.

"Despite repeated inquiries by The Times the Government still does not have a total figure for the cost of external consultancy services across Whitehall.

This year the OGC referred to a survey by the Management Consultancy Assocation suggesting that government departments spent £2.5 billion on consultants in 2004-05, including NHS and benefit office contracts — a 42 per cent increase on 2003-04.

Most departments have no idea what they spend on advisers and temporary staff, or are refusing to provide the necessary figures on cost grounds."


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