02 July 2007 | Paul Snell
The National Audit Office (NAO) has launched a toolkit to help public sector buyers improve their use of consultants.
The questionnaire, available on the NAO website, is designed for buyers to identify areas where their use of consultants is weak. It suggests improvements and highlights case studies to improve their ability to get value for money.
Buyers are tested on five areas of the procurement process: assessing the need for consultants, considering internal options, awarding the tender, delivering the project and post-contract evaluation. At each stage buyers are asked to give red, amber or green responses to questions about their approach to using consultants. Recommendations are then given to make improvements.
Keith Davis, head of efficiency practice at the NAO, said: "Consultants can provide valuable expertise to government. But too often departments rush into using consultants before thinking properly about whether resources are available in-house."
Last week central government departments were heavily criticised for not understanding how much value for money consultants provide (Web news, 19 June).