Consultancies swipe another £160m of government Brexit-prep contracts

Written by Nicholas Mairs and Beckie Smith on 8 May 2019 in News
News

Departments hand out deals for IT and other services

Credit: Stefan Rousseau/PA Wire/PA Images

Government departments have signed £160m worth of fresh contracts with outside consultants in a bid to boost preparations for Britain’s exit from the EU.

According to data provider Tussell, companies are being paid between £3m and £6m each for services relating to IT, accounting and auditing work and management.

Many of the new agreements are set to run until April 2020, six months after the UK’s new date of departure from the bloc. Nine companies that were awarded contracts last year will have them extended.

Major firms Deloitte and Ernst & Young are among those listed, while 11 smaller suppliers are reported to have been given brand new deals.

The government has sought to "draw on the expert advice" of specialists at outside firms since the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016.

BBC analysis from February found ministers had agreed contracts worth £104m for outside help on Brexit.


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Consultancy spending ramped up in the months leading up to the initial Brexit deadline of March 29. Last year, PublicTechnology sister publication Civil Service World reported that the two departments responsible for coordinating central planning, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Exiting the European Union, had paid consultancy firms more than £3.5m for external advice related to Brexit in the space of a month.

And Brexit-related work commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs contributed to a near-fourfold increase in its spending on consultants in 2017-18. Food minister David Rutley said the rise – from £2.8m to £11.4m – reflected “the need to ensure the department draws on the best advice possible as we prepare to leave the EU”.

Asked about the latest contract awards, a Cabinet Office spokesman said: "As a responsible government we have, and will continue to, draw on the expert advice of a range of specialists to deliver a successful and orderly exit from the EU."

Tamzen Isacsson from the Management Consultancies Association told the BBC that the companies have brought “capacity, insight and skills” at an “unprecedented period of huge workload”.

 

About the author

Nicholas Mairs is a news reporter for PublicTechnology sister publication PoliticsHome, where this story first appeared. He tweets at @Nicholas_Mairs.

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