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Politicians put brakes on government work for consultancies


Ross Tieman 

Financial Times

11 November 2014 

PA Consulting Group’s Andrew Hooke, head of the government practice and chief operating officer, and Tom Mullen, US practice head of federal and defence, are quoted in an article in the Financial Times The Business of Consulting special report. Tom and Andrew discuss whether public sector consultants are bracing themselves for a hiatus in two of their biggest markets, the UK and the US, following the Republican victory in this month’s US midterm elections and next spring’s general election in the UK.

The article explains that although the last UK election, in 2010, triggered an earthquake for the consulting industry, no comparable shock is expected next year on either side of the Atlantic. Tom explains that the US has been slower to bring down public spending on consulting: “Rather, cost-reduction efforts have gone hand-in-hand with a search for better value and rising spending on healthcare advice.”

Later in the article, Andrew explains that the era of big turnkey projects is gone. He says: “Projects are smaller and more specialised. Public sector purchasers of consulting are demanding ever-higher levels of technical expertise.” Andrew goes on to explain that firms must field experts in the activity as well as technology and strategy: “Advice on digital transformation is becoming the biggest service line.” According to Andrew,  this will contribute to a phase of strong public sector growth for his firm.

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