The delivery of major government programmes creates a unique set of challenges. They often have bespoke features and require new technology, making them unlike previous projects, and they are complex because of their scale. Major programmes frequently encounter difficulties, failing to deliver to their planned cost and schedule, benefits, with significant consequences. The Government Major … Read more
Managing major projects
Major public projects in the Government's current major projects portfolio are expected to cost over £450bn. There are also many other projects across government. This huge investment of taxpayers' money needs to be spent well. Managing these projects also brings major challenges because they are so long, complex, technically difficult, and are often part of high profile and high-risk transformation of public services.
These projects can also compete with each other for resources, equipment and skills. This means government needs to make sure that the timing of different projects is coordinated - especially as competition for resources can increase costs. One project can depend on the outcomes of another, making coordination and management still harder.
To make sure that these projects are affordable and successful, government needs much stronger project management skills and it needs to make more accurate cost and time estimates. It also needs to improve its ability to identify and manage both risks and the impact of external events.
Key NAO publications:
- Framework to review programmes (Sep 2017)
- Delivering major projects in government: PAC briefing (Jan 2016)
- Welfare reform - lessons learned (May 2015)
- The DECA: Understanding challenges in delivering project objectives (Oct 2013)
- Assurance for major projects (May 2012)
- NAO Guide: Initiating successful projects (Dec 2011)
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