OTTAWA – A researcher testifying before a parliamentary committee on the rise in government contracts awarded to McKinsey & Company said the focus on that one consulting firm is a distraction.
Amanda Clarke, an associate professor of public administration at Carleton University, said the study should focus on the public service’s reliance on consulting firms overall.
“The focus on outsourcing and contracting in the federal government is the broad enough umbrella to get at these issues and any given firm,” Clarke said Monday.
Clarke says there are legitimate questions about McKinsey’s ethical track record, but that would be a separate issue to consider from the outsourcing of public service work.
McKinsey has received attention in recent weeks after media reports highlighted the rapid growth of the company’s work with the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
According to the most updated tally from the Procurement Department, McKinsey has been awarded at least $116.8 million in federal contracts since 2015.
Clarke said the reliance on management consulting firms within the public service “betrays” the principles of responsible public administration.
“My research suggested in a number of ways the federal public service breaches acceptable best practice in responsible public administration when it contracts with large management consulting firms,” Clarke said.
Clarke offered several solutions to address the problem of ballooning contracts with consulting firms, including pursuing a reform of the public service.