Departments sign fresh round of Brexit consultancy contracts worth £160m

Written by Nicholas Mairs and Beckie Smith on 7 May 2019 in News
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Companies are being paid between up to £6m each for services relating to IT, accounting and auditing work

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Government departments have signed £160m worth of fresh contracts with outside consultants in a bid to boost preparations for Britain’s exit from the EU.

Many of the new agreements are set to run until April 2020, six months after the UK’s new date of departure from the bloc.

According to data provider Tussell, nine companies that were awarded contracts last year will have them extended.


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Major firms Deloitte and Ernst & Young are among those listed, while 11 smaller suppliers are reported to have been given brand new deals.

Documents reveal companies are being paid between £3m and £6m each for services relating to IT, accounting and auditing work and management.

The government has sought to "draw on the expert advice" of specialists at outside firms since the UK voted to leave the EU in June 2016.

BBC analysis from February found ministers had agreed contracts worth £104m for outside help on Brexit.

Consultancy spending ramped up in the months leading up to the initial Brexit deadline of March 29. Last year, CSW reported that the two departments responsible for coordinating central planning, the Cabinet Office and the Department for Exiting the European Union, had paid consultancy firms more than £3.5m for external advice related to Brexit in the space of a month.

And Brexit-related work commissioned by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs contributed to a near-fourfold increase in its spending on consultants in 2017-18. Food minister David Rutley said the rise – from £2.8m to £11.4m  reflected “the need to ensure the department draws on the best advice possible as we prepare to leave the EU”.

Asked about the latest contract awards, a Cabinet Office spokesman said: "As a responsible government we have, and will continue to, draw on the expert advice of a range of specialists to deliver a successful and orderly exit from the EU."

Tamzen Isacsson from the Management Consultancies Association told the BBC that the companies have brought “capacity, insight and skills” at an “unprecedented period of huge workload”.

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Nicholas Mairs and Beckie Smith
About the author

Nicholas Mairs is a reporter for PoliticsHome, where a version of this story first appearedBeckie Smith is a reporter for CSW who tweets Beckie__Smith.

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