New risks and opportunities for consultants in the public sector.

The government wants to cut down on the amount it spends on consultants. In the last year it cut its consultancy spending by almost two thirds. The latest change was announced by the Cabinet Office last month. All consultancy contracts worth over £100,000 will be have to be procured by means of a framework agreement called ConsultancyONE. This will replace any existing framework agreements and last for a duration of 4 years. The government wants to supervise consultancy related public sector tenders more closely.

The change in the framework presents both risks and opportunities for consultancies. Bid writers will find contracts easier to find and pursue – there will be more details provided in the OJEU notice and the PQQ has been simplified. Bid writers will no longer need previous experience of working in the public sector is no longer required. Moreover, the framework will breakdown into much smaller lots for specialist consultancy. This ought to make it much easier for smaller, specialist consultancies (especially SMEs) to meet the requirements of public sector tenders. Larger consultancy companies may be forced to reconsider their existing strategy when faced with these new competitors.

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