Major projects special report: examining government’s biggest undertakings

Written by Civil Service World on 18 September 2018 in Feature
Feature

All this week CSW will profile a host of major government projects from each of the four categories from the Government Major Projects Portfolio to see how the current slate of projects are preforming – and where lessons can be learnt

Photo: PA

At a time when government is delivering more projects than ever, in areas crucial to the future of the nation, project delivery has never been more important in the civil service.

In this special report, CSW brings you a snapshot of the Government Major Projects Portfolio and hears from Infrastructure and Project Authority chief executive Tony Meggs about how it is preparing for the Spending Review.

The portfolio brings together 133 of government’s biggest projects with a whole life cost of £423bn across four categories: infrastructure and construction, transformation and service delivery, information and communications technology, and military capability.

Meggs says the government has worked hard to make “a huge amount of progress, over a number of years” to professionalise project delivery in government across these areas.

“We have a lot more highly trained people running and working on projects across government,” he tells CSW. “I would say that as a profession it understands projects and how to do them, and has the skills to do them.”

However, he acknowledges that “everything in the garden is not rosy” and says the annual report shows that under the IPA’s traffic light risk rating “we have more reds and amber/reds than we would like to have”. This system, formally known as delivery confidence assessments, sets out the IPA’s evaluation of a project’s likelihood of success (see right).

Meggs said many of these ratings are an indication of the complexity of the portfolio – “the ratings speak to the riskiness of some of these programmes” – but added he “would be happier if there are more green and fewer reds”.

2017-18 risk ratings

Green (2 projects in 2017-18) Successful delivery of the project on time, budget and quality appears highly likely and there are no major outstanding issues.

Amber/Green (22 projects) Successful delivery appears probable, but risks must be handled so they do not become major issues.

Amber (59 projects) Successful delivery appears feasible. Significant issues exist, but they appear resolvable.

Amber/Red (38 projects) Successful delivery is in doubt, with major risks that require urgent action.

Red (8 projects) Successful delivery of the project appears unachievable due to issues in areas such as with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery.

Project details

Infrastructure and construction

Transformation and service delivery

Military capability

Information and communications technology

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