Government spends more than €12m on outside consultants

Departments of agriculture, children, and public expenditure the biggest spenders

Photograph: iStock

Photograph: iStock


The Government spent more than €12 million on contracts to external consultants last year, with three departments accounting for most of the expenditure.

Figures for each of the 15 Government departments disclose a total spend of €12,236,769 during 2016. While broadly similar to spending in 2015, it represents a significant reduction on consultancy contracts compared to a decade ago when twice that amount was spent.

The biggest spenders last year were the Department of Agriculture (€3.2 million), the Department of Children (€3 million) and the Department of Public Expenditure (€1.4 million).

The lowest figure was recorded in the Department of Arts, Culture and the Gaeltacht which disclosed a total spend of only €1,833.

Much of the consultancy expenditure in the Department of Agriculture was for technical advice including laboratory services, forestry development, marine support and computer development.

Almost all of the Department of Children’s spending went to the long-running longitudinal study into childhood in Ireland, being conducted by the Economic and Social Research Institute and Trinity College Dublin, which costs more than €2.5 million each year.

Much of Department of Public Expenditure’s outside contracts revolved around updating its procurement and ICT systems. Consultant Deloitte was paid almost €700,000 for strategic market assessment for procurement. Another prominent consultancy firm, Accenture, was paid €250,000 for its work on an ICT project, while KPMG was paid €160,000 for its work on e-invoicing.

The Department of Jobs spent €744,125 during 2016 on consultancy contracts. That included €119,000 to PA Consulting for a study of global markets and opportunities for Irish business. Another company, Z_Punkt Technology, was paid €105,000 on a future technology exercise.

The Department of Health spent €704,304 last year, with consultants Amárach paid €98,000 for its work on alcohol labelling.