Buying Solutions

House of Lords written question – answered on 8th March 2010.

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Photo of Baroness Northover Baroness Northover Spokesperson for International Development, Liberal Democrat Lords Spokesperson (International Development)

To ask Her Majesty's Government how much was paid by the Ministry of Justice, its predecessor and its agencies to (a) PricewaterhouseCoopers, (b) KPMG, (c) Deloitte, (d) Ernst & Young, (e) Grant Thornton, (f) BDO Stoy Hayward, (g) Baker Tilly, (h) Smith & Williamson, (i) Tenon Group, (j) PKF, (k) McKinsey and Company, and (l) Accenture, in each of the past five years for which information is available; how they monitor contracts with those firms; and how the department reports (1) during, and (2) at the end of, contracts to Buying Solutions.

Photo of Lord Bach Lord Bach Parliamentary Under-Secretary, Ministry of Justice, The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) was formed in May 2007. Information prior to 2007/08 can only be collated at disproportionate cost.

Of the 12 suppliers listed in the question, MoJ has incurred expenditure with the following six:

Supplier 2008/09 2007/08 Total
£'000s £'000s £'000s
PriceWaterhouseCoopers** 4,229 3,290 7,519
KPMG 1,204 1,385 2,589
Ernst & Young 385 273 658
Grant Thornton 180 99 279
Accenture* 3,990 15,541 19,530
Deloitte 588 146 733
Total 10,576 20,732 31,308

Figures above cover the Ministry of Justice HQ, HM Courts Service, HM Courts Service Estates and Tribunals Service in both years. The 2008/09 figures include the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and the 2007/08 figures are for its predecessor agency, HM Prison Service. Both years' figures exclude probation boards and trusts. Any expenditure incurred by headquarter functions transferred to MoJ from the Home Office are excluded up to November 2008 as expenditure is recorded on Home Office systems and can only be disaggregated at disproportionate cost. The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has used none of the companies mentioned.

Consultants are employed by the department to provide expertise for a defined period of time that is not available in-house.

* The majority of payments to Accenture relate to the development of the Libra, an electronic case management system that enables courts across England and Wales to work in a standard way, using a consistent approach to manage their criminal, accounting and enforcement workload. It also provides a platform to enable further improvements and modernise money handling in magistrates' courts. Having one system has also improved information exchange between the courts and criminal justice partners such the Police, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency and the Office of Criminal Justice Reform. This has led to a reduction in duplication of work and has enhanced services to court users, improving scheduling and monitoring of cases.

** The payments to PriceWaterhouseCoopers include £3.8 million in respect of rent and service charge payments for offices and car parks in the Midlands.

How we monitor contracts with these firms

In relation to engagement of external professional services, the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) operates a robust "business case" approvals process based on Office of Government Commerce best practice principles. This process requires that a named Contract Manager be assigned by the business area concerned to each contract. Their role is to manage the day-to-day delivery and operation of the contract, for example by monitoring and ensuring the quality of all deliverables, monitoring spend against the pricing schedule and ensuring appropriate skills transfer (where applicable). The role of the Contract Manager is fully supported by the MoJ Procurement Directorate's Professional Services category management team. Professionally qualified category managers are on hand to assist with and/or manage the resolution of any contractual issues throughout the life of the contract.

How the department reports (1) during, and (2) at the end of, contracts to Buying Solutions

MoJ works closely with the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), including its Buying Solutions agency, to ensure compliance with procurement best practice and to achieve best value for money outcomes. There is no specific requirement for departments to report to Buying Solutions during or at the end of contracts.

(1) In accordance with OGC best practice guidance, and taking into account the value and complexity of the specific contract, Contract Managers determine and implement the extent/frequency of their internal reporting process to their key stakeholders throughout the life of the contract.

(2) In relation to end of contract reporting, a key feature of the MoJ business case approvals process is a Post Contract Assessment phase. This requires that the person responsible for managing the contract (typically the Contract Manager) return a post contract assessment to the Professional Services category team within three weeks of the end of the contract. Aspects included are the extent to which key deliverables/expected benefits were met, the quality of the service, whether the contract was delivered to budget, whether and how skills transfer was achieved. A repository for the storing and analysis of post contract assessments is currently in the process of being devised and implemented.

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