Public Accounts Committee seek answers on consultant spending

PAC chair Sean Fleming ordered the trawl after confirmation that Bord na gCon spent €633,000 on consultants and amid queries about the use of taxpayer money.

Public Accounts Committee seek answers on consultant spending

A trawl of spending by more than 41 departments and state agencies on consultants and value for money is being sought by the Public Accounts Committee.

PAC chair Sean Fleming ordered the trawl after confirmation that Bord na gCon spent €633,000 on consultants and amid queries about the use of taxpayer money. The PAC will now write to 41 bodies and departments seeking details.

Sinn Fein's David Cullinane queried whether the "same consultant" firms were essentially doing the same jobs. He said taxpayers needed to get value for money and there should be enough direction from departments and "better guidelines".

“It is a lot of money,” he said regarding the greyhound board spend.

Seeking the trawl, he added: “I would say the figures [overall] would be frightening.”

Comptroller and Auditor General Seamus McCarthy said it should be easy from agency accounts to identify consultant spending.

Deputy Catherine Murphy raised spending on GDPR consultancy issues by agencies, adding: “That's where you could get efficiencies. You should be building up expertise within the public service."

Mr Fleming also claimed that some consultant work just “changed the cover” on reports and that they were 99% the same. Departments would be asked to look at efficiencies, said the PAC chair.

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