In mid-2023, Australia was rocked by a scandal surrounding the local affiliate of business management consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers. The crisis raised serious concerns about the role of consultancy and audit firms within our public service, and caused governments to re-evaluate their relationships with these agencies. The key question emerged: are the big four consulting firms truly neutral advisers, or do their ties to corporate interests compromise the public sector’s integrity?
The Consultancy Conundrum is a compelling examination of the role consultancy firms have played in shaping our current crisis of confidence in public institutions. Andrew Jaspan and Lachlan Guselli have brought together authoritative contributions from across the world to provide unique insights into the evolving role and expectations of our civil service, and the Faustian bargain it has made with the corporate world’s instant experts. Collectively, the writers ask: if we can’t trust the consultants, then who will give our governments the advice they need to secure our future? How do we rebuild a robust civil service to support positive change in a volatile world? And how do we go about shaping this new vision of our public service?
With contributions from Jane Andrew, Marty Bortz, Allan Fels, James Guthrie, Chris Hurl, Duncan Ivison, Stuart Kells, Andrew Podger, Denis Saint-Martin, Andrew Sturdy, Erin Twyford and Christopher Wright.