Private sector consultants turned public servants will lead the Albanese government’s new in-house consultancy, which was swamped with almost 1000 applications for less than 20 roles.
The top job of chief consulting officer has gone to Andrew Nipe, a former McKinsey and Bain consultant who spent the last decade in the Victorian Public Service, most recently as the state’s chief data officer.
The deputy chief consultancy officer is Joanne Rossiter, a former director at private international consultancy Nous, who worked at the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations before joining the new unit housed in Prime Minister and Cabinet.
The pair will lead the Australian Government Consulting unit that has been set up by the Albanese government in an effort to arrest the massive growth in government spend on private consultants and develop capability within the public service.
Finance and Public Service minister Katy Gallagher on Monday welcomed the appointment of Mr Nipe and Ms Rossiter.
“Australian Government Consulting will offer public servants the opportunity to work across departments on projects that have, in the past, been outsourced to external consultancies,” she said in a statement.
“Not only will this new function strengthen internal skills and capabilities by bringing important work back into the APS, but it will also save the taxpayer money.”
Funded with $10.9 million for two years, the Australian Government Consulting unit includes 12 staff split across four teams – business development, capability building and two dedicated project teams. The unit began its first projects in October.
One is a partnership with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade that is “scoping work” on the engagement of Australian states and territories with India.
The other is supporting the new Net Zero Economy Agency, a national authority established this year to assist workers and industries with the transition to decarbonisation.
The early focus has been to build the internal capability of other departments through the discrete projects and then exit.
Australian Government Consulting is not charging agencies for its services yet and it will be up to its new chief consultant to approve which projects it engages. It has set a target of at least 15 projects over the next two years.
It will eventually have a relatively small team of 19 when recruitment is finalised. Nearly 1000 applications were received across all levels advertised, more than any other Prime Minister and Cabinet recruitment outside graduate intake.
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