Background to the report
In April 2020 we published a first report on the Restoration and Renewal Programme (the Programme). The Programme has been set up by Parliament to undertake critical works to preserve the Palace of Westminster (the Palace) and improve facilities. Given the very early stage of the Programme, before a business case has been completed, that first report drew from our experience auditing major programmes to share our insights on the risks that would need to be managed. We set out our intention to review the Programme regularly.
Scope of the report
This report aims to support Parliament by setting out what has happened since April 2020 and the progress that has been made in developing the information needed for a robust business case. It sets out:
- the Programme background and a summary of recent events;
- progress delivering the Programme; and
- the work required to develop a robust business case.
This report is based on work undertaken between November and December 2021.
The Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme, widely endorsed as a necessity to preserve a historically and politically significant building, is at a critical, early stage. Since becoming formally established the Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority have rapidly developed, although they have faced some staffing gaps. The next formal milestone is for the Sponsor Body to present Parliament with a Programme business case, currently expected in early 2023, for its approval. To develop the business case, the Sponsor Body and Parliament need to agree what should be included and the Sponsor Body needs more clarity around critical supporting projects, the condition of the Palace and the desired result of the restoration. Without this, there is a risk that Parliament will spend money without the Programme progressing. Delays to the start of critical restoration work will only increase the risk of incidents, which will not always be possible to mitigate, affecting the Palace itself and those that use it.