Background to the report

Departments use consultants in many of their day-to-day activities. Consultants can provide specialist, flexible support to help departments achieve their objectives. Whether departments need to use consultancy services is influenced by the type of projects departments are undertaking, the type of expertise required, and the skills and people available within the department.

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Although departments are responsible for how they use consultants, the centre of government has a role in overseeing and supporting this type of expenditure. Since 2010, the Cabinet Office has operated controls on the use of consultants within central government to reduce spending and to challenge organisations to only use consultants where necessary.

This investigation has been prepared following a request by the Committee of Public Accounts for further briefing on the amounts spent on consultancy services by departments and other bodies at the centre of government to prepare for EU Exit.

Content and scope of the report

Departments have been undertaking work to prepare for the UK’s exit from the European Union (EU Exit). In doing so, they have drawn on the services of consultants. This investigation examines the extent to which departments have used consultants in their work to prepare for exiting the EU. It covers:

  • the role of the centre of government in overseeing departments’ use of consultancy services and overall expenditure on consultancy (Part One);
  • the arrangements the Cabinet Office has put in place to help departments access consultants for EU Exit work (Part Two); and
  • departments’ expenditure on EU Exit consultancy and what the consultants have been used for (Part Three).

This investigation does not consider the value for money of the expenditure on consultancy services, or the spending on consultants by non-departmental public bodies, agencies or local authorities.


Publication details

Press release

View press release (7 Jun 2019)

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