The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has a challenging change agenda and this is driving the professionalisation of project delivery within the department.
Project professionals in the MoJ have been bought together with new recruits from across government and the private sector into a single organisation that is raising professional standards, building capability and developing the next generation of project delivery professionals.
A key part of this is the establishment of a Project Delivery Academy offering training and ongoing support to future leaders in project roles. Over time this will save taxpayers’ money by reducing spending on expensive consultants and contractors, and the MoJ is working with other departments to spread the academy approach across government.
“Our record delivering major projects is mixed,” admitted Steve Vine, Director of Project Delivery at the MoJ. “If we are to have safe and secure prisons, modern and efficient courts and tribunal services, and a smaller, smarter department, we need to be great at delivering change. We need to grow our own capability and that comes from the bottom up”.
“Previously, people entering the profession would be sent on a short, classroom based course, but then there is a huge gap in learning before they attend our highly regarded project leadership programmes run in conjunction with Cranfield University and Oxford University’s Said Business School. This ‘missing middle’ is exactly what the academy is addressing.”
The academy is led by the Ministry’s senior project professionals and delivered by experts from across the government project delivery profession. The course lasts a year and includes residential modules, master classes, workshops and action learning sets to support participants putting their learning into practice on their own projects.
“It gives them a more rounded experience and access to both the technical and leadership aspects of project delivery and provides useful tools and a support network as they grow in experience,” said Steve. “It is helping to create a greater sense of identity and pride in project delivery as a profession through structured development along a clear career path”.
The first cohort started in February this year and a second is about to begin. Feedback from participants has been positive, with comments such as:
“Networking…was discussing things openly for no other reason than to support each other and become part of a real team.”
“The Academy has provided an excellent opportunity for professional development and better understanding of future career paths within the profession in the MoJ.”
“The initial two-day module was a great introduction to the Academy. I particularly enjoyed the session on leading change.”
If you would like any more information on what the MoJ is doing to professionalise project delivery, contact ProjectDeliveryCoE@Justice.gov.uk