The Cabinet Office paid out £1.6m to consultancy firms advising civil servants working on the government’s Brexit preparations last month, it has revealed.
Figures published by the Cabinet Office last week showed five companies received payments for “central EU exit consultancy” services.
Nearly half of the total payments went to US companies. Boston Consulting received two payments worth £158,240 and £169,440, and Bain & Company received one worth £450,400.
Deloitte received the largest amount overall, pocketing £486,473 across two payments of £214,680 and £271,793.35. A further £226,468.46 went to PA Consulting and £178,312 to EY.
The Cabinet Office said the payments related to work done over a longer period than the single month in which the payments were made. It did not specify which projects the work related to.
The contracts covered skills government departments needed to prepare for and implement Brexit, including commercial, operational, programme and project management, it said.
The consultancy was part of an ongoing programme of work at the Cabinet Office to prepare government for Brexit, aided by an exit capability team it set up in May. The team aims to "identify the riskiest projects and then do 'deep dives' to make sure that the things departments say are happening really are", a former minister told The Times.
The figures were published shortly before the chancellor, Philip Hammond, announced a £500m top-up to the funds government departments can use to prepare for Brexit in yesterday’s Budget.
Added to the £1.5bn for Brexit preparations Hammond announced in last year’s Budget, this brings the total for 2019-20 to £2bn. Departments had a total of £1.5bn to spend on Brexit in 2017-18.
Records obtained under Freedom of Information legislation by Buzzfeed News at the beginning of this year showed government departments had signed contracts to spend up to £40m on consultants for Brexit.
The Home Office had awarded contracts worth up to £22m, most of which was to develop and promote the settled status scheme for EU nationals living in the UK post-Brexit. Deloitte and WorldReach Software Corporation were awarded contracts worth between £1m and £5m apiece to develop application, identification and verification processes for the scheme.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs had signed four contracts with consultancy firms worth £3.2m, and the Department for International Trade and the Department for Exiting the European Union had each entered into contracts with a total of around £4.2 million.