The brand new evaluation of presidency invoices might nicely verify the fears of Lord Agnew, the civil service minister who last week referred to as for senior civil servants to cease “depriving our brightest [public servants] of alternatives to work on among the most difficult, fulfilling and crunchy points”.
A former businessman and Brexiter who joined the federal government in February, his eyes will fall on the stark figures exhibiting that departments on the forefront of leaving the EU have grow to be more and more reliant on sharp-suited Metropolis specialists who can command as much as £3,500 a day.
The statistics, which lined 11,000 authorities invoices filed till April this yr, don’t take note of the extra downside for Whitehall of coping with the numerous problems of Covid-19.
As previously disclosed by the Guardian, authorities departments have spent greater than £56m on consultancy corporations to assist take care of the pandemic, principally with out giving different corporations the possibility to compete for the work.
Neither Brexit nor Covid-related turmoil will be assured to subside for not less than six months and will proceed for longer. So how may Agnew and minister for the cupboard workplace Michael Gove power the federal government machine to maneuver away from its reliance on administration consultants and as a substitute study to like its workers?
Given the declared mission of Boris Johnson’s chief adviser Dominic Cummings to tackle senior civil servants, this can be a tougher activity than first imagined.
Cummings has made no secret of his plans to shake up the constructions of Whitehall or problem what he perceives as “group assume” amongst public servants. In January, he went so far as to plead for “misfits” with odd expertise to use for jobs.
And within the meantime, 5 main senior civil servants together with the cupboard secretary Mark Sedwill and 4 everlasting secretaries have left Whitehall this yr, with colleagues claiming they have been pressured out.
One union consultant mentioned that there was a contradiction within the religion that Agnew has expressed within the civil service and the plain mistrust that Cummings has voiced.
“It’s not stunning that the federal government has turned to administration consultants as a result of the civil service has been coping with large and complicated adjustments due to Brexit and fast adjustments in authorities. Again-up was wanted,” mentioned Dave Penman, the top of the FDA union which represents civil servants.
“However there does appear to be a battle within the statements that civil servants have heard from Lord Agnew and people who have come from Cummings and his pals. Does the federal government belief the civil service or not?”
Some inside the authorities consider that Lord Francis Maude, who reformed Whitehall below David Cameron, may very well be the particular person to attract up a plan to a transfer away from reliance on consultants.
The minister in control of the Cupboard Workplace between 2010-15 has been requested to assessment the central division’s efficiency and its relationship with the remainder of Whitehall following considerations that the division has did not cope through the coronavirus disaster.
A Whitehall supply mentioned the Cupboard Workplace would handle points round using exterior consultants however challenged claims that Cummings had expressed hostility in the direction of the civil service. “Dom usually recognises and champions brilliance within the civil service,” the supply mentioned.