My Department was established in 2011. A large part of the work of my Department is associated with the reform agenda plan and, as such, we have a rolling programme of work which will vary from year to year and require varying degrees of external consulting support. In the current year, this includes a number of shared services projects, in payroll, in banking, in financial management reporting and in procurement, together with work on the statute law revision project, support for the implementation of procurement reform and the re-tendering of the national lottery licence.
In the context of this environment, a targeted percentage cost-base reduction is not an appropriate approach to budgeting. We have instead adopted a zero-based budgeting approach to consultancy costs.
In other words, provision is only made for defined projects which have the Government's approval. We continue to seek to minimise these costs and projects, and projects are only progressed when there is a clear business case to do so.