Home Office cuts consultant spend by £100 million

23 August 2011

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23 August 2011 | Angeline Albert

The Home Office reduced its spending on consultants by just over £100 million in 2010/11.

A Home Affairs Select Committee report, published yesterday, revealed that the department’s expenditure on consultants, including spending advisers, had decreased from £161 million in 2009/10 to £60 million in 2010/11.

The report Home Office - Work of the Permanent Secretary is a response to statements given in oral evidence earlier this year by permanent secretary Dame Helen Ghosh and the director general of the Home Office’s financial and commercial group, Helen Kilpatrick, about how the department was coping with spending reductions.

Ghosh also told the committee about the work of the Home Office’s Centre of Excellence, which advises a number of government departments on commodity purchasing. In response, the select committee recommended thedepartment expand the remit of the centre to cover all aspects of procurement.

MPs told Ghosh, who is responsible for ICT strategy and management,that they would closely watch the procurement of large scale IT systems, which they described as historically “among the most difficult contracts to control”.  

The permanent secretary also told MPs that the Home Office was bringing together police forces and their major suppliers to see whether greater efficiencies could be achieved from police procurement. Ghosh said the department hosted a meeting on 10 January with major suppliers who accounted for more than £300 million of police procurement in 2009-10. She said that with the closure of the National Policing Improvement Agency, the Home Office will take on responsibility for encouraging collaboration between forces. In response, the committee said it will examine the department’s role in encouraging greater efficiency in police procurement and other cost-reduction measures in its report on the New landscape of policing, which will be published shortly.

As reported by SM, a single organisation will handle the purchase of all IT for the police in England and Wales from spring 2012. Home secretary Theresa May announced the reform in a speech to the Associationof Chief Police Officers in July.

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