With the end of 2018 fast approaching, we asked the UK's top civil servants to look back at the year, outline their goals for 2019 – and tell us who would turn on their town’s Christmas lights.
What was your highlight of 2018?
In 2018 we published the UK government’s first Project Delivery Standard. Our standard sets expectations for the direction and management of portfolios, programmes and projects in government and is a key milestone for the Project Delivery Function. It ensures more than 11,000 project delivery professionals currently working on the country’s most complex projects are empowered to deliver. By drawing on best practice from a range of sources, we have built on the experience of all the project community, and this is critical if we are to ensure that all government projects and programmes are set up for success.
What was the hardest part of being a leader in 2018?
As the leader of the project delivery profession, one of my biggest challenges is enabling colleagues across government to cross what I call the “valley of death” between policy creation and programme delivery. All government policy is delivered via one type of programme or another so it’s absolutely vital they are delivered successfully. This requires bringing the policy and delivery professions much closer together and to work in collaboration from the start of a project so we set realistic objectives, costs and schedules at the outset.
What are the main challenges facing your organisation in the coming year?
We have a huge opportunity with a Spending Review on the horizon – a number of projects are due to complete and the next generation of projects will soon be initiated. Experience has shown that this is a crucial time for new projects, when a project’s chances of success are really determined. In the coming year the IPA will be focusing on using this opportunity to help validate delivery plans before major commitments are made.
Which celebrity or historical figure would you choose to turn on the Christmas lights in your town, and why?
Well my home is Suffolk and one of my great passions in life is classical music. Therefore I would have to say the composer, conductor and pianist Benjamin Britten, who lived in Suffolk for much of his life. Britten composed some of the 20th century’s best-loved choral works and changed British opera forever.