Ministers have asked management consultants to provide advice on how the government can manage without management consultants, leaked emails show.
Firms already being used to advise external organisations and trade associations have been asked to provide insight on how the Government's "crown consultancy" system could work.
Graduates could work alongside existing civil servants at a new internal consultancy that would poach talent from elsewhere in Whitehall.
The project is also described in emails as a "brand and platform". As well as Whitehall talent it would also draw on external groups including trade bodies and consultancies.
A pilot could be launched as soon as the new year, according to the email that detailed a plan to "launch an Alpha pathfinder for a new Crown Consultancy capability" between January and August next year.
The consultants contacted are not being paid for any advice, according to a source involved in the process.
The concept was envisioned by efficiency minister Lord Agnew, who has previously said that Whitehall had become infantilised by a reliance on private sector help.
The civil servant in charge of the plans, Rupert McNeil, outlined plans that would engage external consultants for very specific tasks. Mr McNeil previously was head of HR for Lloyds before joining the civil service in 2016.
He said the use of management consultants "should only be ... for new capability requirements or for very scarce skills that the government does not need to use regularly".
Most spending went on came from supporting existing projects, or organisational help.
According to the emails, Mr McNeil plans to utilise existing consultancy examinations for staff on the project. Calls between government and advisory bodies on the plans for the internal consultancy will begin in the coming weeks.
A Cabinet Office spokesman said: "Ministers are concerned that the Government is too reliant on consultants and have written to departments to make clear that services should only be procured when external expertise is essential and represents value for money. Where possible, we want to harness the wide range of skills within the civil service."