The civil service has been in talks with accountancy firms including PwC, KPMG and EY in order to prepare for negotiations with the EU following Britain’s decision to leave the Union, according to the Financial Times.
A PwC spokesperson confirmed it has been approached by government officials, who were told that the firm was “ready to help as needed”. KPMG declined to comment.
A government source told the newspaper that it was right to draw on people with the necessary skills and expertise from within the civil service “but also to look outside too”.
The government estimates it needs around 700 extra staff to deal with the negotiations with the EU and other countries.
David Cameron said last week in parliament that the EU exit is “the most complex and most important task that the British civil service has undertaken in decades” and guaranteed the team would be led by and staffed by “the brightest and best across our civil service”.
He said, “It will report to the whole of the cabinet on delivering the outcome of the referendum, advising on transitional issues and exploring objectively options for our future relationship with Europe and the rest of the world from outside the EU.”
The National Audit Office (NAO) found that the government spent £1.3bn last year on consultants, with the largest suppliers being PwC, Deloitte, KPMG, EY, PA Consulting and McKinsey.