Doubts over major projects' deliverability

This morning the National Audit Office released its report into the measurement of deliverability of major projects. There is considerable concern that the government has a poor track record on major projects and the report finds that there has been progress but there are still problems.

  • Only 4 of 73 programmes have had the same senior responsible owner for 4 years
  • 34% of projects due for delivery in the next 5 years are graded as unachievable or delivery in doubt

The concerns over the role of the senior responsible officer - a role essential to ensuring accountability in large areas of public spending - are particularly worth noting. Progress has been made in ensuring projects have SROs but there is too little stability. In addition, there are concerns over skills gaps in senior roles, particularly in digital and engineering.

In addition, there is a struggle to measure and analyse progress because reporting between departments and across years is poor or inconsistent. Even the NAO are often not able to tell if a project is improving from the data that the Major Projects Authority (now Infrastructure and Projects Authority) makes available.

The major projects under consideration have a projected whole-life cost in excess of half a trillion pounds so it is essential that every penny is spent effectively.

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