During a Public Accounts Committee hearing, James challenged UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) to reduce its use of expensive management consultants.
An update provided to the Committee following concerns it raised about the use of consultants by NHS Test & Trace (whose responsibilities UKHSA took on) showed that as of 31 January:
- The proportions of the UKHSA workforce were 58% civil servants, 29% contingent labour, and 13% management consultants. Within the civil servant element of the workforce 55% were permanent and the remainder were fixed-term appointments (including loans from other departments).
- There were 1,476 management consultants in the UKHSA, with the majority of those remaining in highly specialised technology and data analytics roles.
- Agreed day rates for management consultants range from £706 (Consultant grade) to £3,100 (Partner/Director grade) excluding VAT and are call-offs against Crown Commercial Service frameworks.
- Based on the most recent analysis (November 2021) the average actual daily rate across all management consultants working for UKHSA was £1,244 excluding VAT.
James questioned Dame Dr Jenny Harries, Chief Executive of UKHSA, on when the number and cost would be significantly reduced.