Link to this page: http://www.socialistparty.org.uk/issue/392/4439
New Labour wastes billions on consultants
Defend public services
A SHOCKING report has just been published which reveals that the government spent nearly £2 billion on management consultants last year. That's enough to build 100 hospitals.
The Management Consultancies Association boasts smugly of a 46% increase in government spending on their 'services' from 2003. And in 2003, spending went up by 111% to £1.28 billion.
This report - costing an impressive £400, so it must be good - shows what New Labour's plans for public services really mean: Sack civil servants and other public-sector workers who actually know what they're doing and spend a fortune on your friends the 'consultants'.
Anyone who has ever worked with consultants will tell you that the only consulting they usually do is with the people who are really doing the job. They then charge a fortune to tell the bosses how to cut the workforce.
Mick PhilIpsz is a civil service union PCS, assistant branch secretary from the Department for Education and Skills, where the government plan to cut staff by a third. He told the socialist:
"The use of consultants is a particularly sore point in my department. Management are making huge cuts in staffing in the interests of 'efficiency savings' at the same time as employing an army of unaccountable consultants.
"At a union meeting two weeks ago a member spoke of one consultant who was being paid more than £1,000 a day. Also many of our members have gone from doing fairly rewarding professional work to being glorified PAs for some of these people.
"Whatever my department wishes to save, it'll be less than consultants cost, and 'savings' could be made without losing a single job. My union branch is attempting to publicise the huge costs this practice involves at the DfES and throughout the civil service."
A PCS pamphlet quotes another PCS member:
"There have been countless consultants who wish to change things but they do not understand the work or the jobs they are changing. Civil servants then need to sort out the mess."
This revelation about the £ billions wasted on consultants must give a further spur to a united trade union campaign to defend all jobs in the public-sector. This should include demands to end the waste of public money on consultants - use the expertise of the existing public-sector workforce. Back them up by providing decent pay and training.
If the government has billions to waste on consultants, it has billions to spend on effective public services.
In The Socialist 12 May 2005: