Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Passport Office really does spend £1 million a month on consultants

Back in June, I posted about a strange anonymous SMS that had appeared in one of the free London papers. It claimed that the Identity and Passport Service was spending £1 million a month on contract consultancy fees.

It turns out that the figure is almost correct, they're actually spending about £1.14 million a month instead. But what's a hundred grand or so between friends huh? In figures released under the Freedom of Information Act it seem that over the past three years the cost of consultancy by IPS on the ID Cards and Identity Service has been £31.6 million.

Last year was the really big year where the consultancy cost was £22.2 million. The average pay rate as of June on consultants was, including VAT, £701 per day. At the same time the office was employing 82 consultants. That works out to a total monthly bill (based on a four week month) of £1.14 million.

11 comments:

Johnny Norfolk said...

Have you noticed the BBC never investigates things like this anymore since they came to power.

Vindico said...

What do they need consultants for? To hold their hand?

Although to be honest I just applied for a new passport, i sent the forms off on the friday and had the new passport delivered on the wednesday. Pretty good service.

Chris Paul said...

What do these consultants do? Carry Heckler and Koch subbies around airports? Run computer systems? Please explain. The bare figures are never enough for me. I want meaning.

dizzy said...

Hmmmm there was a File on Four about ID cards in general actually. Not listened to it mind.

dizzy said...

Chris, they're mostly IT consultants. Business analysts, project managers. What do they do? They make mountains of pointless documentation probably that then has to go through some anally slow sign off process and then someone decides to change something and it all starts again.

Newmania said...

Dizzy , we have seen under new Labour a new epoch in the misuse of figures and an argument looming is that over the costs of ID cards .I have heard estimates ranging form £5 billion to £20 billion. Both of these figures are staggering when 3% growth nets about £5 billion to the exchequer.
It is already clear that New L are going to want to hide as much of this as they can in the passport upgrade and define it away from this already discredited waste.

I was wondering if they were funnelling passport money into preparatory work for ID cards . The contracts are already out I was reading in Private Eye.This means less than it might appear but I think politically its very hard for brown to undo the work he defended implicitly by membership of the government. Additionally he has a long history of doing surprisingly little but looking for things that work to take credit for .
(Did you know that major had already agreed and planed the hand over of interest rates to the B of E. It was part of the Maastricht negotiation.)

The money going into passports is going to bear some very careful watching and the presentation of ID card costs is going to be a lie . I am relying on you to tease out the truth while I get on with vaguely opining in a pointless and easy way

Mountjoy said...

It's ridiculous, isn't it, all these consultants whilst they're closing A&E Departments basically on cost grounds (although they claim it is 'efficiency').

45govt said...

Don't forget, all these consultants will remember who to vote for if their gravy train comes under threat.

James said...

Expensive at half the price.

Vasey said...

The things that could be done with that money are just staggering. We could have a rail network worthy of the name again, we could upgrade our broadband infrastructure beyond all recognition, we could keep God only knows how many hospitals open, we could have thousands upon thousands more police on the streets, or whatever. Pick your favourite. Instead we get . . . ID cards. Yay!

Anonymous said...

Consultants are not all IT box-tickers (and IT box tickers cost less than £2k per day to hire).

The point of hiring consultants for government projects is to transfer efficient processes and working practices from the private sector - i.e. to save money (or to deliver better services).

Based on the people I know who've worked on such projects, some deliver value, others don't. But it's daft to suggest that it's a waste-of-money black hole.

John B