Is the pandemic responsible for Victoria’s rising spend on consultancies?

Melbourne CBD. Source: Unsplash/Simona Sergi.

The Victorian authorities’s spending on consultancies has soared by $49 million in only one monetary yr, annual report information reveals.

While the authorities has linked the 39% improve in spending by main departments with the COVID-19 pandemic, critics say this solely accounts for a few of the rising spend.

Across Victoria’s eight departments and Victoria Police, the complete spending on consultants rose from $126 million in 2019-20, to $175 million final monetary yr.

Every division had a rise in contract spending, besides the Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Department of Education and Training, and Victoria Police.

The Department of Health had the greatest improve in spending, from $29.6 million to $47.7 million, intently adopted by the Department of Treasury rising from $19.1 million to $39.8 million.

At the Department of Justice and Community Safety, spending on consultants jumped from $1.9 million to $11 million, and at the Department of Jobs Precincts and Regions spending rose from $23.4 million to $36.9 million.

A spokesperson for the Community and Public Sector Union Victoria department mentioned the departments used exterior consults to have “arms-length accountability”.

“This simply duplicates the obligations and why the authorities employs executives,” he mentioned.

The Victorian authorities pointed to the  response to the pandemic and the state’s infrastructure initiatives as requiring consultants.

“The response to the world pandemic has elevated the want for specialist abilities to assist work throughout authorities, which we anticipate will scale back going ahead as we reopen, rebuild and ship on our priorities,” a authorities spokesperson mentioned.

“We’re investing at report ranges to assist the financial restoration and rework our state, via packages equivalent to our Big Build and continued funding in hospitals and faculties.”

The CPSU acknowledged a few of the spending was because of these elements, however highlighted  “most of the pandemic spend was on direct workers or contractors and never consultants and that’s a very separate spend”.

“The majority of the guide spending is a contracting out of their pondering in coverage and overview work. This ought to be performed in-house and would save tens of millions of {dollars} and be obtainable instantly,” the union’s spokesperson mentioned.

The union can be pushing for Victoria’s public service commissioner Adam Fennessy to introduce a yr ban on senior executives who go away the public service for the big consultancy firms to guard the company data in departments and companies.

The authorities is at present engaged in a means of trying to scale back back-office prices and spending on consultants.

Alongside an increase in guide spending, Victoria’s public sector workforce grew by about 18,400 individuals final monetary yr — the greatest improve nationally.

The improve noticed the state’s complete spending on wages improve from about $32.5 billion to $35.4 billion.

CPSU’s spokesperson acknowledged the VPS was rising alongside demand for companies and inhabitants progress in previous years.

“Direct employment is a much better cost-effective manner of paying for this workforce growth with out the want for consultants,” they mentioned.

This article was first revealed by The Mandarin.

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