Government-commissioned reports from management consultants should be peer reviewed to ensure they deliver value for money, according to King’s Fund chief economist Professor John Appleby.

Professor Appleby was speaking during a panel discussion on whether “management consultants were worth it” during a Labour Party conference fringe event called A Vote for Health?

He said: “One of the things I certainly would suggest we need to do more of is to peer review the work that management consultants do.

“If I do work for the Department of Health under a research contract, for example, my work is peer reviewed – not just internally within the King’s Fund but by independent academics as well. And I think that is when you get the balance of what are the costs versus the benefits,” he said.

However, Royal College of Nursing chief executive Peter Carter said: “Over the last few years there has been an explosion in the use of management consultants and we do not believe that they demonstrate good value for money.” 

But he added: “We do think it’s sensible that when a healthcare organisation has a bespoke task that it might be appropriate to buy that in.”