Crikey News: NSW Greens say the big four firm's restructure had turned NSW Health into a 'consultant’s playground'.

‘Intertwined with government’: PwC helped revamp NSW Health then raked in $30m

In 2011, NSW paid PwC $256,709 to help slim down and decentralise the Health Department. Since then, Crikey can reveal, the firm has raked in nearly $30 million from NSW Health — the lion’s share of the $123 million the state’s so-called local health districts (LHDs) have paid for consultancy services in the past 12 years.

The runner-up, KPMG, which also helped advise the government on the 2011 restructure, doesn’t come close with its roughly $5.5 million earned, according to numbers crunched by the chair of a NSW parliamentary inquiry and obtained by Crikey.

PwC made more than that ($6 million) in payments from a single LHD, whose board featured PwC’s acting chief executive Kristin Stubbins as one of its members, and whose chief financial officer was being “mentored” by her. 

“We’ve created a system that is reliant on consulting, and it was done deliberately,” NSW Greens upper house MP Abigail Boyd told Crikey. Boyd chairs an ongoing inquiry into the state’s use of consulting services and has so far focused on the Health Department’s reliance on the big four and other firms. 

She said the inquiry began looking at LHDs because they aren’t required to report consultancy spending in annual reports, unlike many other government entities

“Despite health accounting for around a third of our total budget expenses, it is inexplicably exempted from key reporting and oversight requirements,” Boyd said.

“With financial decision-making largely resting at LHD board level, and with many of the directors of those boards being consultants and ex-consultants, is it any wonder that the big four consulting firms have been treating NSW Health as a cash cow?”

Boyd said the restructuring had turned NSW Health into a “consultant’s playground”.

Crikey does not suggest any of the individuals mentioned in this article are accused of wrongdoing, misusing their position or having a conflict of interest.

 

Read the full article here: https://www.crikey.com.au/2023/07/25/pwc-nsw-health-consulting-local-health-districts/

 

Source: Anton Nilsson, Crikey News, "‘Intertwined with government’: PwC helped revamp NSW Health then raked in $30m", published 25 July 2023, https://www.crikey.com.au/2023/07/25/pwc-nsw-health-consulting-local-health-districts/

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