Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Reports > The Office of the Auditor General's investigation into the use of consultants by the state

The Office of the Auditor General's investigation into the use of consultants by the state

Document 3:6
Download document
Summary

​Background and objectives of the investigation

The state invests substantial resources in the use of consultancy services. Consultancy services can meet a requirement for specialist expertise and capacity which would be both expensive and inappropriate to build up internally, and they can contribute to both learning and the development of expertise.

The aim of the investigation was to assess the state's use of consultants, obtain an overview of the scope and different needs that form the basis for this use, and consider the reasons why the use of consultants may not be sufficiently targeted or appropriate.

Findings

Extensive use is made of consultancy services by state enterprises, largely linked to modernisation of the state administration

  • Purchases of consultancy services during 2015 amounted to NOK 12 billion.
  • Approximately NOK 6 billion was spent on assistance for the development and operation of ICT systems.
  • NOK 1 billion was spent on studies and quality assurance.
  • State enterprises utilise consultancy services without adequately establishing the need or purpose of the services concerned
  • Two thirds of the enterprises audited had no strategy regarding what the public administration should do itself and what should be outsourced to the market.
  • The client competence can be improved.

State enterprises have the potential to improve the process relating to the purchase and use of consultancy services

  • A high proportion of employees in state enterprises find that the process of purchasing and using consultancy services can be "somewhat challenging", and that the services provided have to varying degrees deviated from established agreements with regards to quality, cost and time spent.
  • The use of consultancy services for ICT projects imposes considerable demands on expertise, resources and systems. With the creation of the Digitalisation Board in 2016, a scheme was established to improve the quality assurance of information for use as a decision-making basis and governing documents.

Many state enterprises do not adequately facilitate the transfer of expertise or the re-use of experience gained through previous purchases of consultancy services

  • Insufficient time and resources are set aside to transfer expertise as part of consultancy assignments.
  • Experience gained through previous purchases of consultancy services is not systematically recorded or used in connection with subsequent purchases of such services.

State enterprises could make better use of the support tools that are available

The Agency for Public Management and eGovernment has prepared a new guide for the management of consultancy services, along with standard contracts which can be used to improve the procurement process and a methodology for project delivery. The Office of the Auditor General does not believe that the enterprises make sufficient use of these resources.

Recommendations

The Office of the Auditor General recommends that the Ministry of Local Government and Modernisation works with the Agency for Public Management and eGovernment to more actively encourage state enterprises to use guides, project methodology and other support in connection with the purchase and use of consultancy services.

This can help:

  • state enterprises planning to make extensive use of consultants to formulate a strategy for the tasks which can be performed by consultants, and ensure that mandates for consultancy assignments are more precise
  • state enterprises procure, follow up and evaluate consultancy services in an appropriate manner
  • state enterprises better facilitate the transfer of expertise from consultant to enterprise
Ministry/ministries:

Riksrevisjonen, Storgata 16, P.O. Box 8130 Dep, 0032 Oslo, Norway

Phone: +47 22 24 10 00

Org.nr: 974 760 843