Home Office spending on its top five consultants almost trebled from £27.3m to £77.8m in the past year as it wrestled with two huge and controversial projects, the national identity scheme and the interception modernisation programme.
The big winners were PA Consulting and Deloitte & Touche, which between them have taken £61.6m in the past two years.
The information was published in response to a Freedom of Information request.
The Home Office spending on consultants totalled £148m, £96m and £140m in 2006/7, 2007/8 and 2008/9 respectively, it said.
The Home Office said the increase shown with PA Consulting was in relation to its work on the Interception Modernisation Programme (IMP) and National Identity Scheme (NIS).
The IMP, on which the government is consulting, is a plan to collect and process all data related to mobile and internet phone calls, as well as e-mails and web searches, generated or passing through the UK.
"Spend volumes are predicted to decrease in 2009-10, given the closure of their work on these programmes," the Home Office said.
"Delloitte's (sic) and E&Y was also primarily in support of the NIS programme. KPMG work is in primarily supporting our Quest and Olympic Securityprogrammes. The Accenture work is primarily in support of the Points Based Systems and Category Management programmes."
Operation Quest is a Home Office programme to improve operational processes in the police service. The Accenture projects relate to immigration and border control.
The Home Office said all the contracts were subject to a competitive process managed by its commercial directorate, with negotiated terms and conditions tied to outcomes and knowledge transfer to civil servants.
|Home Office spending on top five consultants (£m)|
|Deloitte & Touche||7.7||21||28.7|
|Ernst & Young||13.8||13.8|
|Source: Home Office|