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Government NSW, Industrial Relations

Public Service Association tells inquiry: government’s reliance on consultants has eroded NSW

Public Service Association of NSW < 1 mins read

The Public Service Association of NSW has told a state upper house inquiry that the government's reliance on consultants has "eroded the NSW public sector and the very essence of public service."

Appearing before the NSW Government's Use and Management of Consulting Services’ inquiry yesterday, PSA General Secretary Stewart Little said that PSA members in the public sector and the citizens of NSW had suffered due to the diminishing quality and scope of public services.

"The increasing use of external management consultants by the previous Coalition Government was a deliberate policy to undermine and erode the NSW public sector and the very essence of public service," Mr Little said.

"There's no overarching strategy defining parameters for consultant use. We've seen consultant 'double dipping' and even 'consultant shopping' for politically convenient answers."

Mr Little also noted reports from the NSW Auditor General detailing a range of issues around the use of management consultants. Among the concerns are:

- Inconsistency in how agencies define ‘consultants’ making it hard to gauge total government spending.
- Concerns around the effectiveness of the NSW Procurement Board's role in procuring consulting services.
- Consultants replacing public servants in departments, effectively eroding the NSW internal public service capability.

"The recognition of the damage and financial costs of this over-reliance on external management consultants shows that it's time to rebuild the NSW public sector. We must return to the ethical, transparent public service, defined by ‘frank and fearless advice'," Mr Little said.

"The ongoing reforms in the APS addressing similar competence and capability issues provide a blueprint which the NSW public sector can learn from. We are ready and committed to be a part of this change."

Contact details:

Tim Brunero +61 405 285 547

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