What is the sum of 500,000 euros billed by the consulting firm McKinsey in National Education?

About 500,000 euros to prepare a seminar. The McKinsey firm is once again prominent after the hearing of two of its executives in the Senate on Wednesday, January 19, as part of a commission of inquiry into the influence of consulting firms. McKinsey France’s associate director, Karim Tadjeddine, was specially questioned by Communist Senator Eliane Assassi over a 496,800-euro contract billed for National Education. The manager was content to mention the organization of a “seminars “ for “reflect on major trends in the evolution of the education sector “.

The associate director of McKinsey France also described it “benchmarking, comparison work” Evolution of the teaching profession and education systems in Europe. “In this reflection”, Karim Tadjeddine states that he has accompanied the Interministerial Directorate of Public Transformation (DITP), which depends on the ministry of the same name. Created in 2017, the DITP acts as a one-stop shop for ministries – with the exception of Defense – and its function is to orchestrate the general system of commissions of the different ministries.

The Ministry of National Education confirms to franceinfo that it has requested the DITP, in January 2020, to obtain elements of international comparison with a view to an international symposium, scheduled for three months later at Unesco. Half of the cost was borne by this ministry, and the other half by the DITP. McKinsey’s mission was to provide one “clarification on the position / role of the teaching profession in the reference countries”as well as at the top “certain components of the operational functioning of foreign school systems”.

ButThe rapporteur of the commission of inquiry, Senator Eliane Assassi, has drawn up half a million euros, which is currently preparing the various purchase orders signed by the ministries.

A source familiar with the matter told franceinfo that “these quotas covered three months of mobilization, with a project team of six people and the mobilization of collaborators in fifteen countries “. This work resulted in a 200-page reference document organized on various topics (teaching conditions, interest in innovation in education systems, new management methods, etc.). “For three years, this has been McKinsey’s only contract with National Education.”this source continues, on condition of anonymity, although it is specified that the firm generally applied a discount “at least 25%” under public order.

Eventually, the symposium was canceled due to Covid, which resulted “a reorientation of the works that was finally extended until the end of June, without modifying the initial budget”Amélie de Montchalin, the minister of Transformation and public service, in the audition. This work, therefore, was futile. But Amélie de Montchalin says McKinsey’s paper had a second life at the end of the year, using “preparation and writing” from a report by the Scientific Council for National Education (CSEN), “Which teachers in the 21st century?”.

The opportunity, finally, to make the investment profitable? Not really, according to the lead author of this 120-page paper, Yann Algan, professor of economics and Dean of the School of Public Affairs of Sciences Po : “It is the result of my research work, in particular on the problems of cooperation in teaching methods”explains franceinfo “and the work of my colleagues like Stanislas Dehaene, on the benefits of education”. In the last part, which presents a benchmarking (a comparative analysis) of modes of government, Yann Algan has assumed “Some graphics produced by McKinsey in his document, but this represents a very insignificant percentage of the report.” he believes. In addition, according to our information, the company’s contribution received a rating of 3/5 during its assessment by the DIPT.

This repeated use of private consulting firms annoys more than one. “It is incomprehensible that the ministry is looking for external companies, especially for these sumsSophie Vénétitay, Secretary General of Snes-FSU, tells franceinfo. The skills are there. “ The National Center for the Study of School Systems (Cnesco), an independent body, aims precisely to support school practice policies. And every two years, the Department of Assessment, Prospecting and Performance (Depp) prepares mainly a comparative report on the Europe of education, the last one in 2020. We could not have contributed to the mission “the service responds, however “because Depp has no international benchmarking mission other than statistics”.

Beyond competition issues, which can be debated, these recourse to private consultants are sometimes motivated by time constraints. And whatever the reasons for this resource, this mission “was carried out in strict compliance [la règle du] youourniquet, which allows you to approach different firms without having an option that favors such and such “, argued Amélie de Montchalin. Senator Arnaud Bazin, however, reminded the minister that the McKinsey firm has won eleven contracts with the state, for a total amount of 13.5 million euros …

Another example, precisely, drew the attention of the members of the commission of inquiry: a bill of McKinsey € 235,620 for the preparation of a telework guide to the civil service for managers. “It was a major problem for the administration”justified Amélie de Montchalin – the ministerial order had been placed before her arrival. “It was a job done to accelerate our ability to deploy our work culture. A subcontractor [donc] it served to show how good practices were carried out in other organizations. “ The councilor specifies that the two documents, available here, are now shared by local authorities, public entrepreneurs, and will be kept up to date by the administration.

Although very friendly with the media, the McKinsey firm is just one example of these state-acclaimed groups, such as Citwell, Accenture …. Between 2018 and 2020, the ministries spent 140 million euros each year on average in consulting services. (excluding IT). Asked by franceinfo, she denounced the commission’s speaker, Eliane Assassi (PCF). “drift”although “Defending a reduction in civil servants”. It also raises questions “of public spending, opacity and sovereignty, for the data at stake.” And one wonders about the influence of these operators.“These are political issues in charge of private cabinets, but that is the role of the ministries and the administration.”

It’s not absurd to reform the state, to keep an eye out. “Orne UDI senator Nathalie Goulet agrees “mBut the link between need and quantity should be looked at more closely. “ Get up against himthey are astronomical “ committed i “possible conflicts of interest”the elect believe it “The minister was caught by the patrol.” The government is committed to moving the case forward. “We have learned the lessons of the health crisis”assured Amélie de Montchalin, “Seeing that we sometimes used external consulting firms because we didn’t know where the internal skills were, or simply because they lacked them.”

Thus, during her hearing, the minister announced the forthcoming signing of a circular by the Prime Minister, in order to establish new rules. “All purchase orders over 500,000 euros must be approved by a commitment committee chaired by the Secretary General of the ministry concerned”, commented Amélie de Montchalin. In addition, the ministries will have to prove that they do not have the internal means to carry out the mission entrusted to the consultancy. Finally, he announced The Obs which will have to decrease this year at least 15% of your spending on strategic and organizational advice “.

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