Officers thanked for full and frank dialogue at public hearing on Use of Consultants and Digital Funding.
On Monday 29 March, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) held a short public hearing, termed in the PAC context as a ‘recall session’, with the Chief of Staff and the Chief Operating Officer on a number of topics related to its Performance Management review.
Following the Chief Minister’s recent update on the Use of Consultants, which showed an increase of 5% spend for January to June 2020 (to £25.5 million), the PAC sought to understand if the Government’s continued engagement with consultants represented value for money. The Committee was also keen to explore why the cost of reforming the Government’s IT programmes may cost twice as much as original estimates.
Following the hearing, the Chair of the PAC, Deputy Inna Gardiner, thanked the Officers who attended and commented on how productive the meeting had been:
“I would like to thank the team of Officers for answering the questions in a way which accurately reflects the position we find ourselves in today. This willingness to admit potential failings and possible lack of progress in some areas reassured the PAC that the Government is aware of pitfalls and challenges and is working hard to put things right. The open dialogue is refreshing and allows the PAC to fulfil its role as a ‘critical friend’, to help create an efficient and dynamic government.
“The Officers have agreed that a lot of work still needs to be done including:
- producing a ‘skills map’ so that skills shortages within the current staff can be identified and remedied.
- Ensuring PAC and C&AG recommendations are implemented before being allocated ‘closed’ status
- Developing clear and useful mechanism for definition of use of consultants, including ‘structured needs assessments’, as required in the Public Finances Manual, to ensure consultants are only brought in to undertake specific tasks which can’t be done by current staff
- Better accountability on value for money of ITS spending
The Government must demonstrate value for money to the public of Jersey and we will monitor the use of consultants closely and review the ITS spending programme later this year.”
Scrutiny Press Release.