Management Consultants

Home Department written question – answered on 22nd March 2004.

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Photo of Mr Howard Flight Mr Howard Flight Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost to his Department of using management consultants has been in each of the last five years.

Photo of Fiona Mactaggart Fiona Mactaggart Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Home Office)

The available information held by the Home Office on the cost of using external consultants in each of the financial years; 1998–99, 1999–2000, 2000–01, 2001–02 and 2002–03 is as follows:

£
Financial year Cost of using external consultants
1998–99 4,588,445
1999–2000 10,302,672
2000–01 27,877,286
2001–02 21,147,058
2002–03 n/a

We do not hold information on the cost to the Home Office of using external consultants for 2002–03 and to obtain this information would incur disproportionate cost.

It is not possible to detail the benefits accrued by the Department to expenditure in a specific year but I am able to summarise the benefits of using external consultants in this period.

The use of external consultants has helped the Department to successfully deliver projects across the office, which has resulted in improved business processes. A further benefit has been the transfer of specialist skills and knowledge to staff. The Department has also benefited from strategic business advice, which has shaped the strategy for combining the separate personnel, finance and procurement projects into an integrated project (Adelphi). This work has informed the development of business change that Adelphi is implementing across the Department and provide accurate management information.

The increase in expenditure on external consultancy in 2000–01 was primarily, due to costs incurred on the Home Office modernisation programme, in particular Information Technology (IT) related consultancy.

The high spend figures for 2001–02 includes the cost of setting up the National Probation Directorate and various consultancies on IT business change.

The main areas of expenditure and the benefits that have accrued are summarised as follows:

Within the Immigration and Nationality Directorate (IND) the use of management consultants has done much to improve business processes. Examples of projects, which could not have been successfully delivered without the project management experience and skills provided by consultants, are:

New Detection technology, deployed in Calais at the end of 2002 and subsequently at other locations;

The introduction of the Application Registration Card;

Support to the improvement of removal performance;

Evaluation of the Fast Track Appeals Process, and subsequent assistance in improving the process.

Criminal Justice IT has utilised consultants across all Directorates since start up. This has helped the unit to achieve a position of excellence in the IT delivery area quickly. The benefits of this position are already being felt across the Criminal Justice System as a whole, as well as within the individual strategic programmes. It has also resulted in a knowledge transfer process being put in place as consultants are replaced by civil servants.

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