Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The cost of consultancy on British Policing?

There's nothing better than discovering how much a Government department has spent on consultancy fees and shouting "Jesus wept" at the sky as you ponder upon the pissing away of taxpayers money on... well... I don't know, but I bet it involved lots of writing and replication of work as consultant after consultant started to overlap their work.

This morning, I have just discovered just how much the Home Office has spent on consultancy fees in the financial years from 2005/06 until 2007/08. The figure is truly staggering and stands at £382,615,960 according to information released by the Home Office under Freedom of Information legislation last month.

Just to put that in persepctive, that is equivalent to about £7 per head for every man, woman and child in the UK over three years. Or, alternatively, if you assume the cost of Police officer (including pension) is about £50K, you could have paid for additional policing of somewhere above 5000.

Some may also recall that police officer have been falling sharply due to lack of funding. And as the Police Federation's chair, Jan Berry noted last month, "the government could find £2.7bn to dig itself out of a hole before a byelection but couldn't find £30m to settle our pay award". Clearly that was because the consultants are more important than plod on the street.


Letters From A Tory said...

How many extra police officers could you employ for that money? Get rid of PCSOs, pay police what they deserve and get more police on the streets.

haddock said...

why the need for so many 'consultants', incompetence among permanent staff or the need to absolve yourself from decision making and covering your arse?

Anonymous said...

Just a wild guess - was something like half of that spent on ID card projects?

Prodicus said...

Here's the plan. Sack the consultants and use the money to add 5,000 proper coppers to the anti-terrorist squad. That should cut down the time needed to build a case and eliminate the need for 42 days' detention without charge. Or is that too easy?

Anonymous said...

Most of the government's consultancy is IT consultancy (like ID cards, but that programme hasn't got into the serious money-spending phase yet) which the Civil Service is incapable of doing on its own. And yes, there is a degree to which politicians like to outsource blame.

I reckon most of the Home Office spend would have been on the Courts Service IT overhaul and e-borders. These are things that (if the processes went wrong and illegal immigrants were let in and then committed a crime, but were accidentally released on bail) people woud demand were done to make sure our Courts and Borders are improved. 5000 coppers won't help you there.

I agree that Government overspends on Consultancy - either improve the permanent Civil Service, or outsource entirely the delivery of goods and services (which would work out cheaper in the long-haul) under a senior Civil Service panel. It is the hybrid and duplication tht is costing the money.

I agree that the Police should have got their pay award, but I don't think that you can say it was because the government spent money on e-borders. They had the cash (see 2.7 in C&N) they just didn't want to give it to the Police.

Dizzy's time-honoured suggestion of a Dept for Governmental IT, funded entirely by recharges to other depts, with a Sec of State overseeing an IT-qualified civil service team and all IT consultancy under its roof, is the best way that we can get value for money (Obama has said he will have a CTO in his administration).

That's the problem - not absolute spend (though that could be lower too), but the poor value we get from government/civil service/consultancy because of the ill co-ordinated approach that has always been taken to large expensive projects.


Dave said...

"Help I'm being burgled/mugged/robbed/raped!" *

"Hold on a moment. I'll put you though to our call centre where you can make an appointment for one of our consultants to contact you"

*delete as appropriate