Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Thursday, 26 September 2019
Public Accounts Committee
Business of Committee
The Chairman is right to try to get a comprehensive picture. There is a deeper issue about consultancy costs and fees paid by Departments and State institutions, an issue on which we have focused for some time, but we need to look at it in a more singular way. We had it with the third level institutions and the Department of Education and Skills. It seems that some State institutions cannot make a decision without engaging the services of a consultancy firm. Questions must be asked about the wisdom of doing so given the amounts of money being spent. If one was to add the amounts of money spent every year by every Department and State institution, be it hospitals, schools, ETBs, institutes or universities, it would come a significant amount. I imagine the private sector does not work on that basis. Where is the in-house knowledge? Much of it amounts to repetition. It should be best practice. Consultancy work seems to be done when the same work would have been done on change management in a different organisation. It is sloppy and a little lazy at times. It is easy because they are spending taxpayers' money. I am not saying there is no justification for spending money on consultancy because there is a place for it, but it seems as if significant amounts of money are being spent on pretty much the same work. Rather than learning lessons, they repeat the same work and hire the same consultancy firms to do it. Is it something at which the committee could look from a value for money perspective?