Public sector managers are pretty happy with the service they get from
consultants that pitch up on their doorsteps.
Should we be surprised? If the agitation caused by the cost of consultants in
the public sector is anything to go by then we should.
Trouble is, their view is tainted. The prevailing view around Whitehall is
that there isn’t a single government IT contract that can be delivered on time
and to spec and work, without the consultants cocking it up.
Some recent history, sadly, shows consultants have perhaps not been entirely
successful with some of the work they’ve done.
But consultancy goes beyond IT and the agitators tend to lump all these
outsiders into one big, bad-tasting consultancy pot.
The KPMG staffers recently parachuted in to overhaul NHS finances prove this
The telling comment from the MCA was that public sector people learn from the
consultants they encounter. This is crucial for a very good reason. The
public sector cannot afford to employ, or generate, the kind of knowledge
provided by consultancies.
Despite this fact, the perception of the breathtakingly expensive, arrogant
and idle management consultant looms large. No doubt it will do for some time.
The only answer is for consultants to make sure they do good work.
Gavin Hinks is editor of Accountancy Age
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