Private sector contracts soar amid Brexit

25 Feb 19
More than £100m of government money has been handed to private firms for Brexit planning activities since the referendum, analysis has found.

Public money has been diverted to the private sector for services including consultancy, research, legal services, recruitment and IT services since June 2016.

A total of 85 Brexit-related contracts were signed by the UK public sector, with a combined value of £107.3m, according to the report by analysis group Tussell and the BBC.

The majority of that money – 85% – went on consultancy services, and the bulk of this came from just nine contracts issued by the Cabinet Office.

Local government has also invested in research services totalling £0.6m, alongside £3.2m spent on research by central government.

Gus Tugendhat, founder of Tussell, said the rise in private sector contracts was understandable: “Even in the best of circumstances, the civil service alone would never have had sufficient capacity to pull off a project like Brexit in the time available.

“Due to the sheer breadth of issues the government is having to grapple with, it was pragmatic to engage the expertise of consultants – even if it has led to extra cost for the public sector and a windfall fort consulting firms.”

The volume of contracts awarded by the public sector nearly doubled from 2017 to 2018 – jumping from 27 contracts to 49. The value of contract spending rose from £14.8m in 2017 to £90.8m in 2018.

Already in 2019, the public sector has awarded five contracts with a combined total value of £1.4m, the report found.

The 2019 total includes a £275,000 Home Office contract to IT firm Fujitsu to provide identification and document scanners.

Read PF’s investigation into the slowdown in local government outsourcing.

Did you enjoy this article?