Government project ratings show improvement

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Posted by APM on 30th May 2014

The government has published its second Major Projects Authority (MPA) annual report.

The report highlights the status of 199 schemes worth 488bn across Whitehall departments rating them on a five tier traffic light system from green to red.

It has received criticism in the national press because it claims that almost one in five government projects, including the delivery of two 6bn aircraft carriers, are in danger of not being successfully delivered.

However, the report actually highlights a number of positives including the fact that of the 31 projects rated red or amber/red last year, more than half had improved this year.

It says that analysis of the projects in the government's major project portfolio (GMPP) demonstrates that, on average, projects with higher total costs and a longer lifespan have a lower delivery confidence assessment (DCA) "which is unsurprising given the greater complexity of more costly and longer-lived projects."

It adds: "Furthermore, the number of projects that we rate green or amber/green decreases in the very early stages of planning, but increases as projects approach their planned completion dates. It is likely that this represents an initial recognition of the challenges that need to be addressed in a project, followed by increasing delivery confidence as solutions are identified."

The report is also critical of welfare projects being carried out by the Department for Work and Pensions.

The flagship Universal Credit scheme was excluded from the review after it was "reset" following a series of delays and concerns about the projects budget.

Francis MaudeFrancis Maude (pictured), the cabinet office minister, told the Financial Times that the MPA's role added vital transparency to the work of government.

He said: "As part of this government's long-term economic plan we are improving the way our major projects are run, helping save 1.2 billion in 2012-13 alone. All leaders of these projects will go to our new training school at the University of Oxford.

We know that transparency drives up standards and helps save hard-working taxpayers money.

John Manzoni, chief executive of the MPA said: "The MPA focuses on ensuring that the government does projects the right way. Critical to this is building leadership capability, clarifying project leaders' accountability and responsibility for delivery, while ensuring that rigorous project planning and assurance is undertaken on all of the government's major projects."

Image: World Economic Forum, flickr

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