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Departmental Staff

Volume 455: debated on Monday 8 January 2007

To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many value-for-money exercises on the use of (a) management consultants and (b) professional advisers were conducted by his Department in each of the last five years for which information is available; and if he will make a statement. (103008)

The total number of value for money exercises the Ministry of Defence has conducted on the use of management consultants and professional advisors in the last five years is not held centrally and could be only at disproportionate cost.

However, it is a requirement that before any engagement of management consultants or professional advisers within the Department, there is close scrutiny whereby managers have first to consult internally to ensure that the expertise is not available. Once this avenue has been explored, managers must raise a full business case explaining why there is a requirement to procure the work. The business case must state the impact of not doing the work and include a value for money assessment.

Departmental guidance makes it clear that external assistance should be used only when all other options for getting the task completed internally have been considered and rejected.

With effect from 1 April 2006 arrangements have been introduced across the Department to tighten up the process of procuring consultancy even further, to ensure that MOD’s internal consultancy resources are considered before engaging external assistance.

The same principles apply to buying in external assistance as apply to buying any other goods or services for the MOD. These include securing best value for money; ensuring probity and accountability; enabling competition wherever possible; and ensuring compliance with the relevant provisions of UK and EU law.