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Departmental Consultants

Volume 505: debated on Friday 5 February 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much consultants employed by his Department and its agencies have been paid (a) in total and (b) in reimbursable expenses in each of the last 10 years. (313998)

The information requested is as follows.

(a) The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) collates dates on consultancy expenditure as part of its Consultancy Value Programme which assists Departments in driving greater value from Government’s use of consultants. The Ministry’s expenditure on consultancy for 2007-08 is reported as £56 million and can be found in the following link: value_programme.asp

Expenditure for 2008-09 is £49.7 million and will be reported soon on the same website.

The OGC definition of consultancy is broad and includes professional services provided by, for example, lawyers, surveyors and architects and the employment of specialists on an interim basis to deliver project solutions, providing expertise for a defined period of time that is not available in-house.

Both the 2007-08 and 2008-09 figures reflect expenditure by the Ministry of Justice headquarters, Her Majesty’s Courts Service, the Tribunals Service, and the National Offender Management Service (except for the Probation Service).

The Ministry was established in May 2007 so data are not available prior to 2007-08 in their current form.

(b) Expenses incurred by consultants in the course of Ministry of Justice business are normally included within their overall bills and are therefore included within the figures stated in part (a). The amount attributable to expenses can be disaggregated from the total only at disproportionate cost.

The costs of business related travel and accommodation by consultants may sometimes be met directly by the Ministry through contracted booking agents or by Government Procurement Card. Occasionally consultants may also claim for reimbursement of expenses met, in the first instance, from their own pocket. It is not possible to identify amounts relating specifically to consultants in any of these cases without incurring the disproportionate cost of examining huge numbers of supporting records held locally across the business.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many consultants his Department and its predecessors and its agencies have employed in each of the last 10 years; and how many hours were worked by such consultants for his Department and its agencies in each such year. (314020)

The Ministry of Justice was formed on 9 May 2007. This merger included the former Department of Constitutional Affairs and the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). NOMS previously formed part of the Home Office.

Availability of the data requested is therefore incomplete due to several machinery of Government and organisational changes which meant that procurement for my Department was not centralised prior to April 2009, and these data could therefore be gathered only at disproportionate cost.

However, a manual data collection exercise for the period April 2008 to March 2009 was concluded on 31 October 2009. The scope of the manual data collection exercise was limited to NOMS (excluding Probation) and Access to Justice (excluding Legal Services Commission) and did not cover any non-departmental public bodies.

Using the data received, there were 694 consultants/interim managers working for the Ministry of Justice in the financial year of 2008-09.

Limitations with the collected data only make it possible to provide the total number of consultants/interim managers for 2008-09 without any breakdown of the specific hours worked.