More on KPMG and ‘free consulting’ – a procurement opportunity?

Does it worry you if something that is getting you excited or annoyed doesn't seem to bother anyone else?

I've been feeling a bit like that.  When I saw the piece about KPMG working for the Government free of charge in the Guardian the other day, which we featured here,  I was sure it would be a big national story.  But it hasn't been featuired since - except by us.  Yet everyone I've spoken to about it, procurement people and others, immediately says, "oohh, that's a bit dodgy...".

So, encouraged by that, I've been following up. I started with a call to the Office of Fair Trading, not to make an official complaint but to get their view - was this anti-competitive?

"A complaint might not get far because generally a firm has to have a 40% market share to be seen as 'dominant'", said the very helpful chap.  "But if a number of large firms are doing the same, that might be an issue.   A lot of calls we get we can just say immediately that there is nothing in it - this isn't one of those.  Send us an email if you want to pursue it".

I'm waiting to hear views from KPMG themselves, the Cabinet Office, the Management Consultancies Association and the Institute of Business Consulting and will report back on anything interesting.

But one other point occurred to me.  Might private sector CPOs be tempted to call KPMG (or anyone else doing this) tomorrow and suggest that perhaps they would like to work for their organisation for nothing?  I know I would if they were working for me.  If I am paying £1,500 - 2,000 a day per consultant at the moment, I might be pretty annoyed to hear that my supplier is quite happy to work for someone else for nothing, government client or not.

Well, at least all you procurement category managers and negotiators now know just how low consulting firms will go...  Start at zero and work from there!

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