To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what procedures his Department uses when engaging external consultants.
The Government introduced spending controls and approval routes for all new proposed spend on consultancy in May 2010 and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office follows these procedures. All requests to procure external consultancy costing in excess of £20,000 must have a business case prior to engaging external consultants, and the following minimum criteria are considered when giving approval:
The requirement is of genuine operational necessity;
The work cannot be undertaken by existing in house resources;
The commercial proposals represent real value for money with a demonstrable return on investment and do not exceed the prices and rates advice provided by Government Procurement Service.
Business case requests to procure external consultancy costing in excess of £20,000 must be approved by the nominated departmental board member. Requests costing in excess of £100,000, or expected to last longer than nine months and/or involve the use of procurement consultants are also subject to additional approval by Cabinet Office and/or Government Procurement Service.