Consultants are often seen as objective sources of expertise and capacity. In turn, consultancy has become both a popular external tool for governments and business as well as a lucrative career choice for many of the brightest students. But can it also be dangerous to rely on external companies for their knowledge? Doesn’t it hollow out our governments? And what about conflicts of interest? How objective can a consultant be when consulting both the tobacco industry and governments?

During this lecture and discussion evening, we welcome Rosie Collington to talk about her latest book The Big Con (co-authored by Mariana Mazzucato). Collington will discuss with prof. dr. Martijn van der Steen about the best way to design public governance and what role consultancy can play in it. Are there ways to improve the sometimes unhealthy relationship between consultancy and governments/businesses?

Rosie Collington is a PhD candidate at the UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, where she researches the political economy of outsourcing. Together with Mariana Mazzucato she wrote the book The Big Con: How the Consulting Industry Weakens our Businesses, infantilizes our Governments and Warps our Economies (2022).

Prof. dr. Martijn van der Steen is professor of public administration at ESSB and associate-dean at the Netherlands School of Public Administration (NSOB). He is a leading expert on the institutional logic of change and innovation within the public domain. He has published extensively on the rejuvenation of public governance and the influence of media and public perception on cases such as the childcare benefits scandal.

More information:

  • Tickets: Free for EUR-students with promocode SG23 (bring your student card)
  • Date: Tuesday 3 October 2023
  • Time: 20:00-22:00 hrs (19:30 hrs)
  • Location: Erasmus Pavilion, campus Woudestein
  • Moderation: Geert Maarse


This program is organized by De Dépendence and Studium Generale