Friday, September 29, 2023

The Shovel’s satirical take on the PwC affair


In NSW our hearts go to Lach and family : Victorians Endure Final Day Living in Brutal Dictatorship

The Shovel’s satirical take on the PwC affair

Has outsourcing public service matters fallen out of favour and should the federal government pivot for a quick win? That is the question for a new batch of external advisers.

James Schloeffel

The back page of The Australian Financial Review Magazine’s 2023 Power issue: a request for tender. Below is how it appeared in the magazine. Scroll down further to read the full text.

Here it is in full ...

Tender Notice

Request for tender for the provision of consulting services

The Federal Government is seeking the services of a suitably qualified consultancy to advise on whether the government overuses the services of consultancies.

1. Background

The Federal Government spent $43 billion on external consultants in the financial year 2022-23 (according to figures prepared on behalf of the government by KPMG). This represents a 215 per cent increase in spending on consultants since 2011 (based on a report prepared for the government by EY).

While $43 billion may seem like an extraordinary amount of money, we all know that getting a bunch of grads together with some Post-it notes, a whiteboard and 10 boxes of pizza for an “agile, blue sky ideation session”
on the future of Australia’s social services sector doesn’t pay for itself.

That said, given the recent media coverage of PwC’s use of confidential tax information (as summarised by Accenture – see Appendix A), as well as the increased cost-of-living pressures being experienced by ordinary Australians (outlined in the BCG Cost-of-Living Report, Appendix B), we are starting to sense that the advice to slowly replace the entire public service with outside advisers (McKinsey & Co Strategic Paper, 2019, Appendix C) may have been misguided.

While a recent research project by Bain found that Australians are positive about the government’s use of consultancies, a series of focus groups, conducted on behalf of the government by Deloitte, detected some
very slight levels of negativity. (The 725-page report, “Are you f---ing serious?”: Community responses to government spending on consultants, can be found in Appendix D.)

Due to a lack of resources within the public service, we now require an external party to provide an integrated, 360-degree, solutions-focused deep-dive to close the loop on strategic deliverables moving forward (translation: please tell us what to do next).

2. Key deliverables

The successful consultancy will be required to:

a) Determine whether $43 billion is, in fact, a lot of money

b) Provide a recommendation for the optimum level of government consulting work in the future (eg “the same”, “more”, “a lot more” etc)

c) Pad it out in a 400-page PowerPoint with a meaningless-but-impressive-sounding title such as “Driving efficiency dividends in a climate of escalating citizen expectations”.

You may also wish to include an additional costed proposal for fixing the cock-ups that will inevitably arise from your original recommendations.

3. Evaluation criteria

Prospective consultancies will be judged on their knowledge of government consulting and the consulting profession. Also, if you have any details on the government’s taxation policy that you could share with us, that would be a massive bonus. The only guy with the log-in password was from PwC and he’s now on indefinite leave.

4. Budget

We will consider proposals up to $200 million + materials. Up to $300 million if your proposal includes a senior partner briefly sitting in on a meeting and saying the word “synergies”.

5. Mandatory requirements

A set of “company values” that includes the terms Integrity, Trust and Honesty.

6. Optional requirements

A Conflicts of Interest assessment.

Please submit your proposal to our tender management team, currently being run on behalf of the government by our consulting partner PwC. They promise they won’t share it with anyone.

  • James Schloeffel is founder of The Shovel and – an important new resource for corporate Australia.