HC Deb 14 November 1996 vol 285 cc332-3W
Mr. Milburn

To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what are the latest estimates of the expenditure on external consultants, including management consultants, for each year since 1992, in 1996 prices, for his Department and its agencies; and what are the quantified annual cost savings which such expenditure has resulted in. [4066]

Mr. Willetts

This answer refers to expenditure by the Cabinet Office, including No.10, the Office of Public Service and its agencies, the Civil Service College, Chessington Computer Centre (CCC), Recruitment and Assessment Service (RAS) and the Occupational Health and Safety Agency (OHSA), and my other Departments, Her Majesty's Stationery Office (HMSO) and the Central Office of Information.

HMSO, and three of the Department's agencies, CCC, RAS and OHSA, have been privatised during the present financial year, the answer covers their expenditure up to the date of privatisation.

Cabinet Office/OPS and agencies HMSO COI
1992–93 6,755,403 451,463 150,174
1993–94 6,327,812 1,130,994 71,100
1994–95 6,250,950 1,833,396 169,862
1995–96 4,077,649 845,608 149,872
1996–971 5,368,723 359,500 47,115
1 Current financial year to 30 September 1996. Includes privatised agencies up to date of privatisation.

Consultants are not primarily used to achieve cost savings. The Department uses consultants to assist in the improvement of its operational efficiency and effectiveness, for example by better use of information technology, and to improve the delivery of Government programmes by drawing on expertise from the private sector. The benefits achieved are difficult to express in terms of cost savings. It is estimated that savings of £3 million to £4 million will be achieved following implementation of consultants' recommendations in the forthcoming year.

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