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Thursday, 11 October 2012
Page: 8096

Defence: Consultancy

(Question No. 2106)

Senator Johnston asked the Minister representing the Minister for Defence, upon notice, on 23 August 2012:

(1) Given that there are 356 senior officers within the department, why was it necessary to spend $61 million on consultants in the 2011-12 financial year?

(2) Who determines, on a case by case basis, the specific need to engage consultants, and who signs off on the engagements?

Senator Bob Carr: The Minister for Defence has provided the following answer to the honourable senator's question:

(1) The Department of Defence engages consultants where it lacks specialist expertise or when independent research, review or assessment is required. Consultants are typically engaged to:

Investigate or diagnose a defined issue or problem

Carry out defined reviews evaluations

Provide independent advice, in formation or creative solutions to assist in the Department's decision making.

(2)    Prior to engaging consultants, the Department takes into account the skills and resources required for the task, the skills available internally, and the cost-effectiveness of engaging external expertise. The decision to engage a consultant is made by Defence delegates on a case by case basis in accordance with the Financial Management Accountability Act 1997 and related regulations including the Commonwealth Procurement Guidelines.