The Major Projects Authority is to be merged with Infrastructure UK to create a new body overseeing big government projects, the chancellor has announced.
The MPA was set up in the last parliament to provide independent assurance on the government's £489bn Major Projects Portfolio, which includes the Universal Credit welfare reforms, the Ministry of Justice's probation shake-up, and major transport schemes including Crossrail and High Speed 2. As well as helping departments to build project management skills, the watchdog publishes an annual assessment giving each major project a traffic light rating.
George Osborne announced on Wednesday that the MPA would be merged with IUK – a Treasury unit that works on long-term planning and investment in infrastructure projects – to create the new Infrastructure and Projects Authority.
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The change will see IUK chief Geoffrey Spence leave Whitehall, while the MPA's interim boss Tony Meggs steps up to lead the new body. The MPA is staffed by around 80 civil servants, while approximately 70 officials work at IUK. Detail on what the merger will mean for staff numbers across the two organisations is still being finalised, CSW understands.
According to the Treasury, the new agency will come into formal existence at the start of 2016, and report to both Osborne and minister for the Cabinet Office Matt Hancock.
Osborne said the merger of the two bodies, alongside the creation of the new National Infrastructure Commission led by former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis, would ensure the UK "gets the transformational projects it needs".
And the chancellor paid tribute to Spence "for the brilliant job he has done leading Infrastructure UK since July 2011".
"Under his leadership, IUK became a more effective organisation, successfully developing and implementing the UK’s National Infrastructure Plan, the UK Guarantee Scheme for infrastructure and a new model for private sector delivery of public service, PF2."
Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock said: "By combining projects expertise with funding authority we will improve the government’s ability to deliver, and the economic security that comes with it.
"Tony Meggs has been a hugely respected chief executive of the MPA and has the leadership and capability to make the new IMPA a great success."