Wednesday, 20 May 2020
Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
653. To ask the Minister for Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation the amount spent on external consultants by her Department in 2019; the average hourly rate; if caps or limits on such spending are in place; the way in which conflicts of interest are managed; and if she will make a statement on the matter. [7275/20]
My Department spent a total of €902,646 on external consultancy in 2019.
The Department considers hiring external consultants in cases where there is not the necessary expertise to deliver the project in-house, in cases where an external assessment is deemed essential, or in cases where a project must be completed within a short time scale, and although the expertise or experience may be available in-house, performing the task would involve a prohibitive opportunity cost.
An overall budget ceiling for consultancy expenditure is set at the beginning of the year. Projects to be prioritised for funding from this budget are initially reviewed by a Consultancy and Research Group, chaired by an Assistant Secretary, for recommendation to the Department's Management Board, with final approval of consultancy and research projects by the Management Board
In each particular case, criteria specific to the project are used in selecting an outside agency or consultancy, including cost and value for money. Contracts are awarded based on the most economically advantageous tender (specifying, in addition to price, various other criteria including running costs, servicing costs, level of after sales service, technical assistance, technical merit, environmental characteristics). Contracts are not generally awarded on the basis of average hourly rates.
My Department complies with the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform's guidelines for engagements of consultants by the civil service, having regard to public procurement guidelines.