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Geraldine Barker


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Delivering major projects in goverment. Presentation given by Director of Project Delivery at National Audit Office to Bringing Projects to Life #eVa21 conference

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Geraldine Barker

  1. 1. June 2016 Delivering major projects in government Geraldine Barker Director Project Delivery National Audit Office (UK)
  2. 2. About the NAO • The National Audit Office (NAO) scrutinises public spending for Parliament. • We help to hold government departments and the bodies we audit to account for how they use public money. • Our work helps public service managers to improve performance and service delivery, nationally and locally.
  3. 3. a) OGC Gateway Review launched January 2001. b) Major Projects Review Group. c) 2010 NAO’s “Assurance for High Risk Projects” published. d) 2011 the Major Projects Authority was founded. e) 2016 MPA and IUK merger to form Infrastructure & Projects Authority. A bit of history
  4. 4. IPA addresses project failure… Assurance Support Report Capability • Intervention • Advice & guidance • Access to peers • MPLA • PLP • Developing the profession • Gateway Reviews • Integrated Assurance & Approval Plans • MPRG • Government Major Projects Portfolio • Quarterly Progress Returns • Annual Report the biggest and riskiest GMPP projects The Major Projects Authority (now IPA) has a Prime Ministerial Mandate to improve the delivery of major projects in government
  5. 5. • Absence of portfolio management • Poor early planning • Lack of clear consistent data • Lack of capacity and capability • Lack of accountability for leadership of a project Problems with delivery identified by NAO & PAC between 2010-15
  6. 6. 2
  7. 7. We reported to PAC on project delivery • Why we did our report:  To brief the new PAC.  To highlight concerns from previous Parliament.  To consider what progress has been made and what is left to do. • Our report covered:  The challenge of delivering projects in government (size, nature, depts, time).  Recent Performance of the GMPP.  What steps had been taken to improve performance by MPA and departments. • Our evidence:  GMPP data from Jun 2015.  The Major Projects Authority Annual Report 2015 (September 2014 data).  Interviews with Heads of Profession, Portfolio Teams, SROs of major projects.
  8. 8. Government has a challenging portfolio of major projects Challenges • 30% will take more than 10 years to deliver; and • 4 will take more than 30 years • 71% of projects due to be completed by 2019- 2020 • Crossrail the largest infrastructure project in Europe • Departments are delivering several projects at once • Across departmental boundaries • Involving a diverse supply chain • Multiple policy objectives Ambition and complexity Timescales Volume of projects Size of projects • 149 projects with WLC value of £511bn in the Government’s Major Projects Portfolio; • 30 of these are infrastructure, estimated at £170 billion • 564 projects in the National Infrastructure pipeline worth £411 billion • Another £26 billion capital spend outside • Plus Network Rail and other
  9. 9. We saw some welcome developments… Steps have been taken to improve capability:  Major Projects Leadership Academy and Project Leadership Academy.  CS Fast Stream for project delivery and fast track apprenticeships scheduled.  Departments offering masterclasses & facilitating community activity.  Development of the profession (communities, heads of profession). • Increased assurance especially at initiation. • Portfolio management functions now in most departments. • Improvements to accountability including more clarity on the SRO role. …but it is too soon to see the impact of some of these initiatives and for others, the impact is variable
  10. 10. In the absence of reliable and consistent measures of projects success it is difficult to state whether performance is improving. We noted the following: a) Some data is exempt. b) Data is published at least six months in arrears. c) High project turnover in the portfolio prevents trend analysis. d) Inconsistent reporting of costs (some real, some nominal). e) No systematic monitoring of benefits. But is performance improving?
  11. 11. Reported costs are higher than in 2012 436 206 19 306 128 102 74 51 0 100 200 300 400 500 600 700 Whole-life cost of the Portfolio in September 2012 Net increase in reported costs of the 59 projects remaining on the portfolio across all 4 years New projects joining the Portfolio Net increases to the whole-life costs of projects which have not been in the Portfolio for the whole 4-year period Reduction in the non-disclosure of project costs Existing projects leaving the Portfolio Existing projects where the project costs are no longer disclosed Whole-life cost of the Portfolio in June 2015 Whole-lifecost(£bn) These were due to changes in the changes in the composition of the portfolio; more costs being disclosed and inclusion of previously unknown costs Aggregate and disclosed costs were higher in 2015 than in 2012
  12. 12. More projects in doubt now than in 2012 17 9 15 7 26 27 23 22 30 32 34 37 12 19 21 26 4 2 4 811 12 2 0 10 20 30 40 50 60 70 80 90 100 Sep 2012 - 191 projects Sep 2013 - 199 projects Sep 2014 - 188 projects Jun 2015 - 149 projects Percentage(%) Green Amber/Green Amber Amber/Red Red Exempt or not provided The percentage of red & amber/red projects increased and the percentage of green & amber/green decreased. This is because: • 21 new R & A/R projects added • Delivery confidence declined for 16 • 6 remained unchanged • 66 G or Aleft the /G portfolio • 26 projects improved to G or A/G For projects in the Portfolio for all 4 years: • G & A/G projects increased • R & A/R projects also increased Delivery confidence for 35% of projects due to finish this Parliament is in doubt or unachievable. 80% of projects due to finish by 2020 are ‘transformation’.
  13. 13. Are benefits being achieved • Benefits are not always clearly articulated at the onset. • This is a particularly difficult with projects with ambitious objectives – High Speed 2. • Important to make someone responsible for managing benefits realisation. • But long timescales are an issue. • Departments often do not evaluate whether benefits have been realised.
  14. 14. What are the challenges now? Three key challenges in this Parliament are to: • prevent departments making firm commitments on cost and timescales for delivery before plans have been properly tested; • develop an effective mechanism whereby all major projects are prioritised according to strategic importance and that capability is deployed in priority areas; and • put in place systems and data which allow proper performance measurement.
  15. 15. PAC Interests/Concerns • Merger of the MPA and IUK into IPA. • Data collection does not allow transparent, open and honest dialogue about project performance. • Over ambition about projects is putting them at risk. • Major project delivery is not understood by policy makers. • Technical skills within government and civil service. • Exit reviews and benefit realisation.
  16. 16. Where to go for more information Delivering major projects in government: a briefing for the Committee of Public Accounts 6 January 2016 government-a-briefing-for-the-committee-of-public-accounts/ Welfare Reform – Lessons learned 29 May 2015 Assurance of major projects 2 May 2012 High Speed 2 A review of early programme preparation 16 May 2013 Major Projects Report 2015 and the Equipment Plan 2015 to 2025 e/report/ Crossrail 24 May 2014 Lessons from major rail infrastructure programmes 29 October 2014 major-rail-infrastructure-programmes.pdf