Public administrations increasingly rely on consultancies to acquire policy knowledge, assess stakeholder dynamics, and evaluate governance systems. In this symposium, we explore the drivers and effects of this trend. Consultants offer advisory services, articulate governance trends, provide technical and programming expertise, as well as evaluation functions. Historically consultancies were introduced to public administrations to prevent market dominance and to respond to demands for specialized professional services. This relationship morphed into an expanded global market for a wide range of consultancy services that national and international administrations purchase. We explore how consultancies and public administrations interact through a discussion of task-setting based on recognition of: (i) what party can make claims to support a public ethos, (ii) what forms of expertise are most relevant for solving the problem, and (iii) status in who can best tackle uncertainties.