Canberra’s boutique consulting firms cash in on demise of the big four
But amid a ministerial campaign to lift the use of smaller and mid-tier consultancies, portfolios switched spending away from the big firms in Q4 2023. Contracts to smaller firms leapt 400 per cent from $5.5 million in Q4 2022 to $22.1 million in Q4 2023, on a like-for-like basis.
The biggest winner was public policy consulting specialists Nous Group, which won $7.7 million in engagements in the December 2023 quarter. This was more than four times the $1.6 million in work that it won in the same period in 2022. The new work included a $2.15 million contract to evaluate the Head to Health Kids program for the Health Department.
Canberra-based IT recruiting specialist Infinite Consulting scored a $1.3 million contract with the Australian Financial Security Authority, as agencies moved away from using the big firms for labour hire.
Canberra-located Artemis won a nearly $1 million advisory contract with the navy shipbuilding division in the Defence Department in the December 2023 quarter. It was also the winning tenderer for a $382,000 engagement to support change management in the Health and Aged Care portfolio. The firm did not win any federal business in the same period in 2022.
Boutique national capital advisory firm Projects Assured won more than half a million dollars of new work last quarter, including a $487,000 contract to support the establishment of the National Anti-Corruption Commission. That compared with no work in the same period in 2022.
Another Canberra firm, ConceptSix, leveraged its success in supporting the transformation of the myGov service portal, winning a $328,000 contract shortly before the Christmas break with the budgeting division of the Foreign Affairs and Trade Department. The firm won no consulting contracts in the same quarter in 2022.
As 2023 closed, Canberra-based IT recruiting specialist Infinite Consulting scored a $1.3 million contract with the Australian Financial Security Authority.
Local boutique advisory firm Terrace Services won $870,000 in new work, including a $647,000 project advisory contract with Geoscience Australia. This came after it also won a $224,000 tender in October to review the project practises of the Productivity Commission. The firm also did not win any federal advisory work in the same quarter in 2022.
ACT-based human resources and professional advisory firm 1 and One Consulting picked up nearly $800,000 of work last quarter across a series of agencies. This included a $547,000 contract with DFAT and a $79,000 contract to develop human resources policies for the National Blood Authority. The firm picked up only one contract in the comparable quarter in 2020, worth $26,000.
Small data analytics player Two Twigs won a $52,000 contract to document and review AUSTRAC’s IT architecture and systems.
Other local firms to prosper in Q4 2023 at the expense of the big four included Bluebird Advisory (a $380,000 ICT business case for the Australian Competition Commission), Charterpoint ($429,000 for financial analysis for the Infrastructure department) and the Interaction Consulting ($480,000 to support the Health Department).