PA Consulting Group

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PA Consulting Group is an international consulting and technology company, headquartered in the UK.1


The company was the second-largest recipient of UK Government contracts to consulting firms in 2010, behind Deloitte and ahead of KPMG.2 According to, PA Consulting’s most-recent contracts with the Government, both ended in March 2017.34.

Investigated by the National Audit Office

In June 2015 the National Audit Office (NAO) was notified by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI); a Government department (replaced by the Department for international Trade in 20165), of potential issues with the transparency and accuracy of PA Consulting Group’s charges in relation to a contract that it held with UKTI. This led to a NAO investigation which found that:

“both UKTI and PA have fallen well below the standards expected in managing public money… PA should have been more transparent in its dealings with UKTI… UKTI should have been able to rely on PA to be transparent regarding changes in its pricing and how it was disclosing its profit on the contract.”6

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

PA Consulting Group worked with British American Tobacco (BAT) on supporting the tracking and tracing of tobacco products through the supply chain in 2009,7 on a customer service strategy in 2012,8 and on facilitating packaging modifications in accordance with the European Tobacco Products Directive in 2014.9
As of August 2017, PA Consulting’s website stated that the company “are now supporting BAT in their next anti-illicit trade development project.”10 BAT has a history of involvement in tobacco smuggling. For more information see: BAT Involvement in Tobacco Smuggling

Views on Public Health Policy: Promoting Private-Public Partnerships

In addition to its work on illicit tobacco, PA Consulting Group has expressed an opinion on the topic of preventing illicit pharmaceuticals, stating that:

“it requires a strong private-public partnership… (involving) combined initiatives from policy makers, enforcement agencies, and companies to implement appropriate brand protection technologies”.11

An article on its website suggests that the pharmaceutical industry should follow in the steps of the tobacco industry when attempting to deal with illicit trade, putting forward ’10 lessons that the Pharma industry Can Learn From Tobacco’. The list includes suggestions such as “make sure the industry gets involved” and “collaborate with the public sector”.12
In 2014, a PA Consulting Group representative wrote a letter to the editor of the British Medical Journal regarding alcohol pricing claiming that:

“We seem to have adopted a Manichean worldview, where gallant public health scientists fight an industry that wields enormous power over government and cares not for the health of its customers. This attitude will not lead to good public health policies… Then there is the allegation that industry has conspired to corrupt the evidence on pricing. It implies that we can’t trust any opposition because most will have been sponsored by industry vested interests. No doubt we should be wary of lobbying, but we should also judge arguments on their merit and not their sponsor.”13

Other Affiliations

All Party Parliamentary Group on Illicit Trade

On 23 August 2017 it was announced that PA Consulting Group would be providing “expert advice” to the (APPG) on illicit trade.1415 For more information on the APPG and PA Consulting’s role with it see: (APPG) on illicit trade.

TobaccoTactics Resources

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  1. Vault, company profiles: PA Consulting Group, 2017, accessed August 2017
  2. Telegraph, Coalition spends more than £200million on consultants, PR and marketing, 19 November 2010, accessed August 2017
    PA Consulting Services Limited, undated, accessed November 2017
  4. gov.UK, PA Consulting Services Limited (UK), undated, accessed November 2017
  5. GOV.UK, UK Trade & Investment, undated, accessed November 2017
  6. National Audit Office, Investigation into the UKTI specialist services contract with PA Consulting, 10 June 2016, accessed August 2017
  7. PA Consulting,
    British American Tobacco: Project Track & Trace, 2017, accessed August 2017
  8. PA Consulting, Developing a “shelf” driven supply chain – British American Tobacco, 2017, accessed August 2017
  9. PA Consulting, Implementing changes to packaging for legislation compliance – British American Tobacco, 2014, accessed November 2017
  10. PA Consulting, British American Tobacco: Project Track & Trace, 2017, accessed November 2017
  11. PA Consulting, Helping you fight illicit trade – from coherent strategy to operational delivery, 2017, accessed August 2017
  12. S. Carden, What pharma can learn from the tobacco industry, 1 February 2012, accessed August 2017
  13. S. Black, Demonising the alcohol industry doesn’t lead to effective public health policy, 12 February 2014, accessed August 2017
  14. F. ACourt, APPG set up to probe illicit trade, 29 August 2017, accessed November 2017
  15. Securing Industry, All Party Parliamentary Group on crackdown on illicit tobacco, 29 August 2017, accessed August 2017