Federal government officially launches in-house consulting unit

06 December 2023 Consultancy.com.au 3 min. read
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The federal government’s in-house consulting unit – Australian Government Consulting – has officially launched with the appointment of former McKinsey manager Andrew Nipe as chief consulting officer.

The Australian federal government has brought in expertise from management consultancies McKinsey & Company and Nous Group on a new $11 million project: its own in-house consulting unit.

Previously an engagement manager with McKinsey in Washington, Andrew Nipe crosses from a chief data officer role with the Victorian government to lead the new division, while former Nous Group director Joanne Rossiter has been appointed as deputy.

Federal government officially launches in-house consulting unit

Housed within the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet and dubbed Australian Government Consulting (AGC), the new unit forms part of Labor’s promise to reduce the government’s reliance on external advisory and shave $3 billion from the country’s outsourcing bill during the its first term in office. The government has put $10.9 million toward establishing the function over the next two years, with at least fifteen projects to be delivered over that time.

“Australian Government Consulting will offer public servants the opportunity to work across departments on projects that have, in the past, been outsourced to external consultancies,” stated federal finance and public service minister Katy Gallagher. “Not only will this new function strengthen internal skills and capabilities by bringing important work back into the Australian Public Service, but it will also save the taxpayer money.”

Taking up his post as Chief Consulting Officer, Andrew Nipe brings management consulting experience from both McKinsey and Bain & Company, the latter where he kicked off his career as an associate in 2002. Since then, he has worked as a senior policy advisor to UK Treasury and spent the past decade with the Victorian department of education & training, before crossing to his former government services chief data officer role earlier this year.

Joanne Rossiter meanwhile joins as deputy chief consulting officer from the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, where she had led the landmark national skills reform program, before which she spent time with Canberra-based consultancy Nous Group and earned promotion to director at the end of 2019. Both Rossiter and Nipe hold master’s degrees in public policy, respectively gained at the University of Oxford and Harvard Kennedy School.

With discretion to choose which projects AGC will take on, the pair will oversee a team of roughly 20 consultants, split between business development, capability building, and project delivery. The government says it received almost 1,000 applications across all levels of seniority and drawn from both with the APS and externally, with those to have crossed since mid-year including arrivals from KPMG, Noetic, Nous Group, and PwC.

Indeed, the unit has already been engaged for two pilot projects, including conducting analysis for the recently launched Centre for Australia-India Relations, which is led by former KPMG partner Tim Thomas and counts Sayers and Mandala leaders Sammy Kumar and Amit Singh among the members of its board. AGC has also been supporting the Net Zero Economy Agency, another newly established body aimed at assisting industry with carbon reduction.