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I am not opposed, per se, to the use of consultants. Seeking alternative opinion is not wrong. And it should be paid for when required.

I hate to be cynical, but I simply doubt that many of these firms could add value to the scale of their fees.

20 thoughts on “Oh, right”

  1. “I am not opposed, per se, to the use of ME. Seeking MY opinion is not wrong. And it should be paid for HANDSOMELY when required.”

  2. My value add is often costed at 2 to 3 orders of magnitude greater than what I charge unless I’m consulting on safety issue, in which case I’m never sure how to value the work, not being an actuary.

  3. They have to hire the right sort of consultant you see. Can’t think who Spud means.

    Can’t be morons who include £28bn of tax owing to HMRC at a particular date as part of the ‘tax gap’ when £25bn of that was later collected.

  4. off topic but no doubt this will be seized on as proof of the heartless Tories;

    “Nottingham man starved after benefits stopped”


    “The inquest into Mr Graham’s death in June 2018 heard he’d had a history of depression.

    His GP and the Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust agreed to have him sectioned in 2015, but he returned home to Pine View flats, Radford after a matter of days.

    After this he was rarely seen, missing several GP appointments and refusing approaches from mental health teams.

    Mr Graham also ignored repeated contact from the DWP and his employment and support allowance (ESA) was stopped in August 2017. This also affected his housing benefit, which ceased on 10 October.”


    “The last official contact was with housing provider Nottingham City Homes, which heard him shouting and punching a door during a visit in February 2018.”

    His daughter in law comments….

    “Alison Turner said it was “heartbreaking… it’s horrific for someone to die like that.””

    Indeed. Where was his family during this time? No doubt Alison might ask “Why didn’t society help him?”

    As was pointed out by Mrs T, there really is no such thing as “society” onto which we can devolve ourselves of our own responsibilities.

    “There is no such thing as “society”. There is living tapestry of men and women and people and the beauty of that tapestry and the quality of our lives will depend upon how much each of us is prepared to take responsibility for ourselves and each of us prepared to turn round and help by our own efforts those who are unfortunate.”

  5. “I hate to be cynical, but I simply doubt that many of these firms could add value to the scale of their fees.”

    If what I deduce to be the Potato’s principle (that the amount of fees charged by consultants should be linked to value added) were adopted, he’d better have a goodly nest egg ready to pony up payments to the people to whom he supplies his services

  6. Dennis, CPA to the Gods

    Vintage Murphy… Devoid of fact and detail, he grandly pronounces his disdain for his professional betters via gross generalization.

    Bottom line: He doesn’t have a fucking clue as to what these agencies are going to engage the consultants for, and he hasn’t a fucking clue as to what sort of skills and expertise these consulting firms bring to the table.

    Just Richard being envious. Again.

  7. A sheep farmer is tending his flock when a city slicker rolls up in his BMW, hops out and asks, “Hey, if I tell you exactly how many sheep you have, can I take one?” The farmer nods, so the city slicker opens his laptop, calls up some satellite photos, runs some algorithms, and announces, “You have 1,432 sheep.”

    Impressed, the farmer says, “You’re right. Go ahead and take one.” So the city slicker loads one of the animals into the backseat of the car. “Now,” says the farmer, “I’ll bet all my sheep against your car that I can tell you what you do for a living.”

    A gaming sort, the city slicker says, “Sure.”

    “You’re a management consultant,” says the farmer.

    “Wow!” says the consultant. “How’d you know?”

    “Well,” says the farmer, “you come from nowhere even though I never asked you to. You drive a flash car, and wear a smart suit. You told me something I already knew. And you don’t know anything about my business. Now give me back my dog.”

  8. @Andrew C January 29, 2020 at 12:51 pm

    Graham’s death is tip off iceberg for “history of depression” deaths after benefits stopped for being a recluse, death usually by suicide.

    DWP ignore NHS/GPs reports telling them Mr/Ms X is depressed and can’t leave home.

  9. @Andrew C / Pcar

    Not sure what government agency could have prevented that, short of devoting a crack team of social workers to follow up everyone who has missed their last appointment or two with The System to check whether they’re okay / not got their stuff together atm and can’t follow a schedule to oversleeping, being drunk, being high or simply being disorganised / really in trouble and probably needs to be sectioned or some form of sheltered accommodation. But that would be a massively expensive and intrusive piece of state apparatus.

    This is tough **** for anyone without a family or whose family relationships have broken down irreparably for whatever reason, but for 90% of us, if we are going to trust anyone with our lives and to keep an eye out for us and watch our backs for us, then family is the way to do it. Always has been, likely always will be – whether it’s the force of genetics or the strength of emotional bonding during childhood, family units have historically been very resilient to all kinds of chaos and turbulence in the world around us. Whereas in those worst of times (famine, war, natural disaster etc) friendships, business relationships and organised authority have fragmented or been swept away.

    Nevertheless, it does strike me that the welfare system is excruciatingly complicated, despite being largely aimed at the kind of people least able to cope with this kind of complication. To me this is one of the strongest arguments for some kind of Universal Basic Income system instead. With UBI, the starving to death element of this case might have been averted, but that may not have averted the mental crisis or meant that he looked after his money properly, let alone that his family would have taken greater care of him.

  10. @MBE

    I agree about family. Ought to be the strongest defender of the weak.

    But of course, the left want to destroy the family, give it no status, make people not only reliant on the State but create a situation where people expect the State to do everything, so the only family responsibility becomes complaining to the press when things go wrong.

  11. @ TD

    Yep, consultants are there to tell you what you already know. Or more specifically, convince the bean counters to do something because they don’t trust what their own people told them.

    Let’s face it, if they didn’t tell you what they wanted, repeat business would be zero.

  12. When I asked a manager in 1975 why he hired a consultant, he said the bosses would never believe him. The consultant was there to give credibility which would never accrue to what he said.

    The consultant had a really good idea that solved what seemed to be an insurmountable problem. 45 years later I don’t know if it was the manager or the consultant who came up with it.

    ‘I simply doubt that many of these firms could add value to the scale of their fees.’

    Doesn’t matter. These firms are busniesses. They charge what the market will bear. How much value they add isn’t even part of the equation, Mr former professor of economics.

  13. The first thing that the C-suite needs management insultants for is CYA.

    I do startups and turnarounds. About a fifth of my clients have taken my advice, and prospered. Most of the rest went A over T. Being a consultant isn’t difficult, because running a business is ninety per cent perspiration and adhering to train timetables. My current victims, I mean clients haven’t even sent out December debtor statements. How much longer will they be around, that’s an interesting question. Am I worth my fees, eighty per cent of the time no.

  14. Bloke in North Dorset

    In my consulting career I’ve seen plenty of “borrowing your watch to tell you the time” projects, mostly on the management consultant side, but as others as have said, this mostly boils down to arse covering or someone in an organisation need outside support for their project or a decision they’ve already made.

    In my own case of telecoms engineering and management we were generally hired for expertise and experience and our clients were usually implementing a new technology, building a new business, having difficulty with a new technology implementation or needing credibility with banks and other lenders that their plans were realistic.

    The mistake that the likes of Billy No Mates Murphy make is thinking that you’re paying for the individuals, you’re not. In most cases your paying for the institutional memory and expertise and the contacts of the consultants. I generally had access to experts in the telecoms industry so if I didn’t know something I usually knew someone who did or could point me in the right direction.

    Consultants are a sort of Veblen good, if you don’t charge high enough prices you don’t get hired.

  15. Businesses hire consultants for a sword and a shield: to do the dirty and CYA. Consultant: paid to be sharp, paid to be blunt, paid to take a beating.

  16. Well there is consulting and there is consulting. There are a myriad of things where a professional engaged on a specific consulting basis can be valuable. Successful businessmen seek advice all the time from all sorts of sources. Since somewhat retiring I do do a bit of consulting to smaller businesses and municipal governments. A couple of things I’ve noticed.

    With the retiring or dying baby boomers, I’ve some millennial kids have been put in the position of running a company they really aren’t prepared for. The firm is much bigger and more complex than it was when the old man was running it at their age. If he’s not around any more to give advice, these kids, who’d never be hired for the top job elsewhere, may need some hand holding. There are also cases of key employees buying out their owners who may generally be quite competent, but now have responsibilities for financing, guaranteeing loans, insurance, etc that they’ve never dealt with before. They may not have a clue how to read a financial statement or what’s inherent in a shareholders’ agreement. Again, if the founder is not within reach they too need a bit of help. A big one can be municipal councils or boards suddenly faced with a major infrastructure overhaul. A federal requirement that water plants and systems be upgraded can leave the local pub owner sitting on a utility board pretty stymied and wondering why he ever thought running for the office was a good idea. They too need a bit of help.

  17. As a rather niche IT consultant, I work with broadly three types of customer:
    a) small businesses, who could never devote a full-time person to the area I cover;
    b) medium-sized business, who need technical expertise in an area where they’ve no internal experience; and
    c) large businesses, who have the in-house expertise but need a temporary extra pair of hands to handle the busiest periods (or perhaps an outside view, independent of office politics).
    In the case of b), because I’m self-employed, I usually try to transfer some of my knowledge, but the client sometimes won’t (or can’t) co-operate in this process.

    Despite my outrageous daily rate, I assume I add more value than the cost of my fees, because I get repeat business.

  18. @MBE

    Agree with most. The isolated ~10%(? maybe 2%?) are the ones most in need, but the fastest to be abandoned by DWP

    Solution rather easy and inexpensive:

    Tick box on screen “This person is mentally/physically disabled and won’t improve, don’t stop benefits”

    There’s plenty or reports of terminally ill, or depressed legless ex-army being dragged to an assessment to see if they’ve grown new legs. One on news this week: locl office closed, travelled 40 miles to Assessment Centre alone, no disabled access. Repeatedly rang “disabled bell” – nothing. Few days later: benefits stopped for non-attendance

    @Andrew C

    Spot on


    Was Norton motorcycles an A/T client



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