Why do We Swallow all this Guff ?…and if it’s not all Guff, it’s bloody expensive ….

What does ‘Guff’ mean…..

Cambridge Dictionary

Second question …From whence does all the flow ? First two frames of the first image. Now before you scream and shout ….

If you add the first image with the second , it may give a clue.

You simply cannot generalise . Management consultants would not be so successful if they’re weren’t successful !

And this quite right , I should not generalise. It is without doubt they perform many a useful task in many sectors. They invest large amounts of money hoovering up the world’s greatest potential talent and training them to be good at what they do .

This is a list of the U.K.’s leading consultants…..

And this is how they earn some of their keep …

The value of contracts awarded by the government and public bodies to consultants rose from £1.2bn in 2019-20 to £2.5bn in 2020-21, according to Tussell’s analysis. The figures include work for central government and arm’s length public bodies, but exclude local authorities. Payments under many contracts may be lower than their published value — and in some cases consultants pass on work and fees to subcontractors. Financial Times October 2021

Actual spending on consultants by central government and arm’s length bodies was about £1.5bn in 2020-21, said a person briefed on the government’s figures. That was about double the total of “more than £700m” the government has said it spent on consultants the previous year. Financial Times October 2021

So was it all worth it ? That is not for me to judge but there are reasons to be cautious .Again taken from the Financial Times. The paragraph below that refers to a threat that the U.K. Government is considering not allowing KPMG to bid for contracts.

PwC’s German headquarters in Frankfurt and its offices in four other cities in the country were searched on Tuesday in a far-reaching investigation of suspected aggravated tax fraud by current and former partners. The raids, which also included the private homes of eight individuals, were disclosed in a press release from the Frankfurt General Prosecution office. Some 250 law enforcement officers across Germany took part in the action.

KPMG’s reputation has suffered in recent years after a series of fines for misconduct. It is also under investigation over other allegations of malpractice.

It is very easy to find faults in any large organisation employing thousands but when these organisations are involved with central governments, throughout the world, spending public money, there, at times, seems to a huge lack of scrutiny . Of course during the pandemic, UKGOV needed expertise not to hand within the civil service. However there are so many examples of vast amounts of dosh slipping through public finance hands into Consultants pockets without any fruitful outcomes . That said there are times , particularly during the pandemic (ppe) when seeking expert advice would have been more effective than ringing your mates.

I suspect one of the problems with major projects such as the various attempts to digitise the NHS is the lack of specific knowledge to be able draw up comprehensive briefs for consultants to work to. But just as likely is for the Civil Service and politicians inability to fully comprehend the plans and advice presented by advising organisations.

32 billion items of ppe…..ordered at a cost of £12.5 billion in five months (This turned out to be drastic over order, based on ‘modelling‘ from Mckinseys, one of the many consultancy firms to be quids in from Covid).

Private Eye 1560 Nov 2021

Deloitte’s partner in test and trace was Serco. ……….But then Serco was no stranger to public service foul ups , including with Deloitte it’s auditor as a partner in crime. The latter being fined £4 million for not spotting Serco had cheated on tagging contracts a few years before with tagging contracts.

Private Eye 1560 Nov 2021

£665 million Cost to tax payer of services from Deloitte 202/21 (not all Covid)

Private Eye 1560 Nov 2021

It would very easy to be flippant (or flipping easy ) to just say that Management Consultants are just organisations designed to suck up vast amounts of dosh . ‘Cos they do. If one considers the figures below they amount to a figure that is approximately 30% bigger than the entire U.K. defence budget. But ( and I’m struggling a bit) they perform a function. They must do if the good people of the UK spend £63 billion with them. They have huge resources of expertise that would not be commercially viable for any single organisation to have sitting still in a room until they are needed.

Total Size of the UK Market

  • UK Management consultancy  Market Size: £63bn
  • business Number of Businesses: 172,912
  • employs 419,850 IBISWorld(reseeacrh organisation established 1971)

These numbers are on the top end of estimates, but it sort of suits me. They, only, reinforce the argument you can find any number that suits your own theories, which I suspect is an argument much used by The Consultancies selling their wares.

When the numbers are this big it is easy to make cheap shots as there are bound to be screw ups, and the odd over charge (Deloitte’s average staff pay inc pension and NI is £77,000-£27,900 average for NHS worker ) in their vast spread of work but at the same time the icing on the cake is going to be pretty thick.

Some ‘Guffy’ examples…

  1. “What’s the so-what?” Translation: How is this analysis useful? Real meaning: You’re one up on me because you’ve done…
  2. “MECE” Translation: Mutually Exclusive and Completely Exhaustive. Real meaning: Tell me you haven’t missed something… Forbes

Whilst it is quite clearly not all guff, the bit that is will be bloody expensive.