after the McKinsey affair, consulting firms weaned from missions in the public sector

INVESTIGATION – The scandal led to a fall in public orders. But professionals hope that the law in preparation will, paradoxically, revive business.

The curtain has fallen in France for the American McKinsey. Caught up in a state scandal and media turmoil in the aftermath of the pandemic, the consulting giant was considered too influential in crisis management and the development of public policies. From now on, he is trying to show discretion in the country… To the delight of his rivals, who went under the radar at the time of the controversy, and who are now benefiting from his setbacks. “We made the decision in 2021 to no longer participate in public calls for tenders in France until further notice”entrusted to Figaro Jean-Christophe Mieszala, senior partner at McKinsey.

Public criticism and commission revelations of senatorial inquiry into the purchases of consulting services by the State damaged part of this market. “Let’s say that some public administrations no longer call today for a yes or a no…”summarizes a Parisian partner of a large consulting firm. “There is a slowdown in public orders from consulting firms, due to a certain self-censorship of officials in administrations and ministries”agrees David Ifrah, general delegate of Syntec Conseil.

The government has promised to reduce its use of skills outsourcing and its dependence on these private companies. For the period 2023-2027, it promises to limit the cost of public sector consulting services to 150 million euros, compared to 226 million in 2018-2022. This slowdown is already visible in central administrations. The interministerial directorate for public transformation (DITP), the main outlet for advisory missions carried out by the ministries, has made significant cuts in its budgets. From January 2022 to the end of the first quarter of 2023, the Interior and Overseas Ministries were the best performers in terms of reducing consultancy spending, with drops of 80% and 40% respectively. The executive has committed for the next four years to capping each consulting mission at two million euros. Beyond this sum, a separate call for tenders becomes obligatory, a way of discouraging ministries by multiplying procedures…

Read alsoMcKinsey, itinerary of a controversy

This change in atmosphere has created turbulence in the finances of the consulting giants…

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