Government Told To Address Use Of Consultants

Jersey's government still lacks a robust way of making sure its use of consultants is value for money.

That is the conclusion of a follow up review by the Comptroller and Auditor General.

Lynn Pamment has been looking at  the spend on consultants for 2019 to 2022, which totalled almost £112 million.

However, more recent figures have revealed a further £40 million was spent last year.

Ms Pamment says Jersey's government has no overarching workforce plan that would reduce its reliance on outside contractors and expert advice.

She says the monitoring is inconsistent, and that there has been a significant increase in the use of consultants on 'non-major projects' compared with previous periods.

Her report says rates are often higher than employer an actual project manager, and cites an example of a £300,000 a year fee.

She found examples of consultants being taken on without a tender process, but through 'procurement exemptions'.

In addition, the C&AG says the recommendations and findings of consultants are not always tracked consistently.

Summarising her findings, Lynn Pamment said: "There will always be certain skills that are not available on Island and skills that are not needed by the States of Jersey on a permanent basis. In addition, for any organisation committed to a number of major and strategic change projects there will be a need to consider the use of consultancy support. The States of Jersey are no exception.

“However, where consultants are used, there is a need to ensure robust processes are in place to drive value for money. My review has identified that such processes are not in place on a consistent basis across the States of Jersey. As a consequence, value for money from the use of consultants cannot be demonstrated consistently.

“The States of Jersey should build on earlier progress by implementing the recommendations in this report to secure better value for money from their use of consultants.”

Chief Minister Deputy Lyndon Farnham has welcomed the findings and recommendations.

“Reducing the cost of consultants is a high priority for this Government.

There will always be certain skills we do not have on island. However, where it is necessary to use consultants there is a need for a more robust process to be in place to deliver savings and ensure value for money."

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