Upper House politicians hear about dangers of out-of-control outsourcing.
PSA CPSU NSW General Secretary Stewart Little, flanked by Policy Officer Andy Asquith, gave testimony to an Upper House Committee about the state’s over-reliance on expensive consultants.
Mr Little told the Upper House Committee on the NSW Government’s Use and Management of Consulting Services that the “increasing use of external management consultants and contractors by the former Coalition Government, in our view, was a policy that helped undermine and erode the NSW Public Sector and the concept of public service”.
Mr Little said this was to the detriment of PSA CPSU NSW members, other Public Sector workers and the NSW public, who now received inferior public services.
He said an Audit Office report found there was no overarching strategy on the use of consultants and the money spent on them. He added there was “double- dipping within agencies and having a clear conflict of interest”, questions over procurement of consultants and agency staff and “consultant shopping to find ideologically and politically acceptable” answers to public policy issues.
“It is now time to rebuild the NSW Public Sector from the ground up,” he said. “The rebuilding process must be based on the traditional ideals of ethical, transparent public service underpinned by the concept of frank and fearless advice.”
Mr Little told the Upper House Committee members that consultants lacked the Public Sector’s accountability.
“I’ve been to a number of estimates committees here over the years,” he told the four politicians present. “I’m yet to come across an estimates committee where the boss is sitting here with a consultant.
“Where is that consultant being held to account on the work they have done on the taxpayers’ dollar?”