DWP projects face praise and criticism

The Department for Work and Pensions’ (DWP’s) major projects portfolio contains both a higher proportion of projects where success is “highly likely” than any other department of state, and the highest proportion where successful delivery is “in doubt”, according to the Major Projects Authority’s (MPA) annual report.

By Joshua.Chambers

17 Jun 2013

For the first time, the MPA has published traffic light ratings of many of government’s major projects. CSW has calculated the percentage of each departments’ projects put into each category. The chart below lists departments by the percentage of their projects rated green by the MPA – the highest rating.

DWP tops the league, with 33% of its £26.5bn project portfolio “highly likely” to be successful. However, 42% of its projects are ranked amber-red – including its flagship Universal Credit scheme. DWP said that since the ratings were set in September, it’s launched a successful pilot and “put in place a strengthened plan and leadership team.”

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is the organisation with the greatest proportion of projects rated red, meaning “successful delivery appears unachievable”. Glen Watson, director general of the ONS, said the projects have since improved. “A good project manager won’t shy away from admitting that projects hit obstacles sometimes. A mature organisation encourages this, but then acts decisively. I am confident that all our projects will achieve their objectives and provide value for money,” he said.

NS&I fell at the bottom of the league because its sole project, re-tendering to outsource its back-office services, was rated amber/red.  A spokesperson said: "In September 2012 the re-tender project was graded amber/red. At this point, we were working with the Cabinet Office to ensure compliance with the ‘spend controls’ process, which encompasses compliance with current government strategies and policies. To ensure full alignment with digital objectives, we commissioned an independent review and a digital roadmap that was agreed with the Cabinet Office."

"Until the review team had reported, it was necessary to consider delivery at risk as changes to the procurement could occur. However, following the review no changes were made to the project timeline. Overall, we maintained good progress against our planned procurement schedule, and the project was completed in June successfully.”



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