‘Consultancies depend on weak governments’ ?

Date: 5th March 2023

This very recently published book ( see below) strikes many chords on consultancy. Consultants ( not the medical kind) cost vast sums and are disputably of limited positive impact at great cost. Deloitte was extensively involved in  Covid pandemic. ‘Test and Trace cost billions, including hundreds of millions spent on consultancy, and yet, as parliament’s Public Accounts Committee found, did not achieve “its main objective to help break chains of Covid-19 transmission” [Will Lloyd New Statesman].

In parallel, just as the costs have grown, so have the  costs of burgeoning number of agency workers and locums in social work and the NHS, respectively. Continuity of care and training has been subjugated for short term expediency and savings.

Will Lloyd, New Statesman, on reviewing the book and discussing consultants –

‘ There is hardly an aspect of our lives that is not affected by them: they are in our hospitals, our prisons, our schools, and our universities. Yet so few of us, unlike Mazzucato and Collington, have a clear understanding of how these organisations work or what they really do. Until a more powerful language can be found for describing, and then fighting them, the consultancy barnacles will cling to Britain, and wherever else they can find a willing host.'[.

Many of the themes of the book were highlighted in a the book ‘Consultancy in Public Services; Empowerment and Transformation ‘ by two of our group,  Wade Tovey and the late Robert Adams. A key theme of their book was to give staff time, and ‘listening ears’ to service users and  patients, to improve services as they know where the issues lie and  they can often find solutions and better ways of doing things. For example, a tiny example,  one of our members questioned why they were having three different appointments for blood tests, between hospital and GP. The answer was the IT systems couldn’t ‘flag’ to each other but even then when all tests were at the GP why not do all together? GP agreed – two appointments saved for both parties.

We also identified one major consultancy which wrote reports on the  re-structuring/outsourcing of HR, Finance, Training in a Local Authority and submitted a report which had the name of another Local Authority where they had some a similar report… both no doubt at six figure costs.


‘The Big Con: How the Consulting Industry Weakens our Businesses, Infantilises our Governments and Warps our Economies’.Mariana Mazzucato and Rosie Collington
Allen Lane, 368pp, £25



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