Spotlight on the Big 4

Tussell’s latest market analysis has found that 2017 was the best year since January 2013 for public sector awards issued to the ‘Big 4’ consultancy firms – Deloitte, EY, KPMG and PwC.

Since January 2015 the firms have won 735 public sector awards worth a total of £435M. They were listed on 301 frameworks (essentially Preferred Supplier Lists), which offer no guarantee of value but could be worth £830M to the Big 4 over the lifetime of the agreements according to our estimates*.

Big 4 Awards and Frameworks by Year

Excluding frameworks, PwC leads the pack based on award value. However, KPMG has won the largest estimated framework value of the Big 4.

Big 4 Awards and Frameworks by Supplier

In 2017, PwC’s leading position in terms of award value was driven by awards from Highways England and Ministry of Justice. PwC won more than 70% of the award value issued by those buyers to the Big 4 last year.

Big 4 Top 10 Buyers (2017)

Unsurprisingly, most of the Big 4’s awards and frameworks in 2017 came from Central Government. Deloitte won more Local Government contracts than the others, picking up 34% of the awards and frameworks issued to the Big 4 by Local Government.

Big 4 Awards and Frameworks by Buyer Type (2017)

Although the value of awards issued to the Big 4 is large in absolute terms, the firms accounted for less than 2% of the total award value issued in the Business Services and Financial Services sectors in 2017. The market is less concentrated than is often thought.

The debate about whether the public sector should outsource complex requirements or build in-house capability looks set to continue. Either way, the question goes beyond just the big name firms.

* The value listed on a framework is the maximum that could be issued to all suppliers over the lifetime of the agreement and is not guaranteed. Our estimate comes from dividing this overall value equally between the suppliers on the agreement.

Tussell uses public sector information (a) licensed for use by the UK Government under the Open Government Licence v3.0 and/or (b) from the EU Tenders Electronic Daily website licenced for re-use by the European Commission. This information remains the copyright of the UK Government and European Commission respectively.​

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