4935 - NHS Trusts: Accountancy and Management Consultants (Answered)

Paula Sherriff
To ask the Secretary of State for Health, for what purposes NHS hospital trusts may contract (a) management consultancy and (b) accountancy services; and what information his Department holds on such spending.

George Freeman

The Department reports expenditure on “consultancy services” in the administration and programme costs notes in its Annual Report and Accounts.

Consultancy services are defined as “The provision to management of objective advice and assistance relating to strategy, structure, management or operations of an organisation in pursuit of its purposes and objectives. Such assistance will be provided outside the ‘business as usual’ (BAU) environment when in-house skills are not available and will be of no essential consequence and time-limited. Services may include the identification of options with recommendations and/or assistance with (but not delivery of) the implementation of solutions.”

All National Health Service bodies should now use centrally approved Crown Commercial Service framework contracts for such services to ensure value for money. Under the financial controls package announced on 2 June 2015, a limit of £50,000 has been set for all professional services consultancy contracts across NHS foundation trusts, NHS trusts and clinical commissioning groups. All cases above this threshold will require sign-off by the appropriate national body ie NHS England, Monitor or the NHS Trust Development Authority. The Department is aiming to save £150 million on management consultant spend in 2015-16.

The Department collects data on consultancy services from individual NHS trusts, and Monitor provides a consolidated figure for the NHS foundation trust sector.

The total spend on consultancy services by NHS providers in 2013-14 was as follows:

NHS Provider Consultancy Spend 2013-14


NHS Trusts


NHS Foundation Trusts


The Department does not separately report expenditure on “accountancy services” or collect data on this.