DH paid consultants £73,000 to prepare official for MPs' grilling
The Department of Health spent more than £73,000 to prepare a senior official for a single appearance at the Public Accounts Committee.
Tim Donohoe, the DH’s senior responsible owner for local service provider programmes, racked up the bill over a 52-day period before facing questions from the committee, chaired by Margaret Hodge, about the National Programme for IT on 12 June.
Figures released following a Freedom of Information Act request revealed the consultants, were paid £1,714 a day for the first 29.5 days after they were used in February, then £1,000 a day for 23 days, at a total cost of £73,563.
The DH said use of consultants in this way had broken official policy and that this was a “one-off” incident that would not happen again.
A letter by Stephen Mitchell, DH head of accountability and regulation, to Steven Barclay, a Conservative member of the PAC, said: “Overall support from this consultancy covered the period from 4 February to 20 June 2013 during which time the total number of days used was 52.5.
“For the period from 4 February to 31 March, the daily rate for this work was £1,714, giving a total cost of £50,563.
“For the period from 1 April to 20 June, we renegotiated the day rate to £1,000 per day. The total cost for the entire period (4 February to 20 June) was therefore £73,563.
This consultancy - whose identity was not disclosed in the letter - also provided support for the hearing related to the National Programme for IT held in 2011.