While external consultancy support has proved critical to the successful delivery of many projects, it is important that public bodies properly procure, manage and review all external consultancy assignments. Public bodies need to plan their use of external consultants so that they are used only when necessary and to ensure that their knowledge and skills are deployed only where such use represents value for money.
The Northern Ireland Assembly’s Public Accounts Committee reported on the use of consultancy in February 2008 and published a follow-up report on the use of consultants in April 2012. It published a set of recommendations regarding the use of, and monitoring arrangements for, consultants. DFP’s annual compliance report forms part of the Department’s ongoing response to the PAC’s recommendations.