The Home Office spent £140 million on external consultants in 2008/09 despite having thousands of experts on staff. This is a 46 percent increase over the previous year.
The consulting firms that benefited the most were PA Consulting (£24.5 million), Deloitte (£21 million) and Ernst and Young (£13.8 million).
PA Consulting was contracted to work on the national identity scheme and the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP). Deloitte and Ernst & Young also won contracts for the national identity scheme, a project that has since suffered a climb down.
The government has been criticized for spending so much money on external advisors. “Whenever anyone questions the large salaries paid out to Home Office staff we are told it is because they are the best people for the job,” said Mark Wallace, the campaign director of the TaxPayers' Alliance. “If that is the case why on earth are we paying an army of consultants to tell them how to do their job properly? Whitehall must drastically rein in spending on consultants if it is ever going to control its costs, especially at a time of recession.”
A Home Office representative responded: "The Home Office spend with consultancy firms is comparable with other large scale and complex service delivery organisations. All Home Office contracts are subject to a competitive process.”