ConsultancyONE – framework contract for government consultancy services awarded

The UK Government Procurement Service (GPS) announced yesterday that the new ConsultancyONE framework has awarded contracts in nine lots – 4 audit related, 4 financial strategy and the multi-specialism programme delivery lot (for firms with a broad range of capability).

About time too, some would say, as this has dragged on way beyond the original planned timescales. But I’m impressed they’ve got through without any challenges – given the huge number of firms who bid, that was a strong possibility. So that’s a vote of confidence in the process.

 “Awarded today, the first phase of the new ConsultancyONE framework developed by Government Procurement Service (GPS) is expected to deliver significant reductions in consultancy day rates by at least 20%. The new consultancy framework will replace all existing arrangements for central government departments and can also be used by organisations across the UK public sector. It offers a wider choice of suppliers with more competitive, innovative solutions than ever before – 47% of the successful firms are not existing framework suppliers.

Smaller providers have been given more opportunities to win government business with 27% of first phase suppliers being small and medium enterprises (SMEs). In addition, SMEs have been awarded places on lots which have historically been dominated by large firms. This is seen on the multi-specialism delivery advice lot where 25% of providers are SMEs”.

I don’t believe GPS have actually announced yet who is on the lots, although they will. But our detective work tell us that;

  • There are a few unexpected names on the multi-specialism lot, including QI (stalwart Gateway reviewer providers) , Quintec, CMC Partnership, and Concerto Partners. The engineering heritage firms have done well on that lot also, with Mott McDonald, Atkins and Mouchel (back from the grave...) all making it.
  • Most of the big “usual suspects” made it onto that important lot, but no IBM or Accenture, whilst Boston Consulting Group are the only representatives of the top tier Strategy houses.
  •  The big accounting firms have done well across the board, as we might expect, with Deloitte and Ernst & Young successful on all Lots, KPMG just missing out on one  - but PWC were “only” successful on 6 of the 9 lots.
  • Some mid-sized accounting firms have done well, notably a star performance from Baker Tilly (on 7 of the 8 finance / audit related lots) and Grant Thornton (on 5 of the 8).

Back to the announcement:

"David Smith, Commercial Director at Department for Work and Pensions and Senior Responsible Officer for the consultancy framework, said:

Departments are continuing to reduce their expenditure and dependency on consultancy and I very much welcome this single framework for Government which will offer us better value for money and greater and direct access to the innovation and expertise that SME providers can offer".

There are still a few questions of course.  How well will the Framework be used? Will SMEs actually win business - it is one thing being on the list, another winning projects.  In most cases, a further “mini-competition” will be a legal necessity, and in a Lot containing 20 suppliers like the multi-specialism, that  process won’t be very “mini”.

But it appears that the intent is for a buying team in GPS to run all those competitions for consultancy requirements between £100,000 and £2 million. Above that, requirements will be subject to full competition via the OJEU process, so the Framework (in theory at least) won’t be used. But I suspect a lot of big projects will be positioned at a £2 million cost to avoid that new OJEU!

What I don’t know is whether GPS will manage those mid-level competitions just for Whitehall users or for anyone in the wider public sector who wants to use the framework? I’m sure some kind person will comment and let us know.

The winners for the 6 remaining functional specialism lots, including procurement, should be announced next month. And I know it has been a tortuous programme, but it’s good to see the results finally emerging – and apparently without any legal challenge -  so well done to those involved.

Voices (2)

  1. Stephen Heard:

    Hmm! There may not be any legal challenges from the big boys who have missed out but I wonder how many of the big users will complain that their favourite consultancy is not on the framework!

  2. Tony Morton:

    Sounds like you have the full list of companies awarded places. Any chance you could publish it?

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