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Report cover showing a train

The Modernisation of the West Coast Main Line

“When the Strategic Rail Authority stepped in, the project to modernise the West Coast Main Line was in disarray, vastly over-budget and with few of the planned improvements in place. It was only through good direction by the Strategic Rail Authority and then the Department for Transport and through the exercise of firm management by Network Rail that the project was brought back on track so that benefits of faster journeys are now being delivered to passengers.

“The weaknesses in the management of the project before 2002 should provide ample warning of the dangers of entering into a scheme on this scale without clear leadership, plans and project management expertise; without fully engaging stakeholders; and using untried technologies.

“Future major projects should draw upon these lessons learned, give careful consideration up front to the potential effects of programme slippage and include plans to minimise these risks.”

Published:
22 Nov 2006
Report cover showing a motorway

The Procurement of the National Roads Telecommunications Services

“The Highways Agency’s procurement identified the risks to the National Roads Telecommunications Services project and successfully transferred them to the private sector, conducting negotiations with the preferred bidder well. It did however take a lot longer than planned and only two bidders remained through to the end of the competition. There are good practice lessons both for the Agency and for other major public procurements”

Published:
4 Apr 2008
power station

The sale of the Government’s interest in British Energy

“The Government sold its stake in British Energy when energy prices were at a peak, and got a good price. The biggest priority for the Government was, however, to ensure new nuclear power stations could be built from the earliest possible date and with no public subsidy. Whether it will achieve this remains to be seen. The Department of Energy and Climate Change now needs to make real progress on its contingency plans should EDF be unwilling to build new nuclear power stations.”

Published:
22 Jan 2010
Report cover showing commuters at a station and an approaching train

The South Eastern Passenger Rail Franchise

“The seeds of Connex South Eastern’s difficulties were sown when the train operating company won its franchise with an over-ambitious bid. It indeed subsequently proved to be undeliverable. The Strategic Rail Authority lost confidence in CSE and took the difficult and finely balanced decision to terminate the franchise. The SRA went on to demonstrate that the successful termination of a train operating company’s franchise is feasible, and that taxpayers’ and passengers’ interests can be protected, through careful management of the attendant risks.

“This case highlights lessons to be learned, however, in how franchises are awarded and managed, which the Department for Transport must keep in view as it takes forward the responsibilities it has recently inherited from the Strategic Rail Authority.”

Published:
2 Dec 2005
Report cover showing the Thames Gateway area

The Thames Gateway: Laying the Foundations

“The Thames Gateway is the most ambitious regeneration and development programme in Western Europe. If these ambitions are to be realised it is crucial that there is stronger cross-government leadership and clearer objectives for local partners to work towards. An overall programme plan to coordinate projects and give a live picture of what has been achieved and what remains to be done is an urgent priority.”

Published:
23 May 2007
Entrance sign, London Bridge

The Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern rail franchise

This examines the causes of poor performance on the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern network since the franchise began in September 2014, the effects on passenger services, financial outcomes for the operator and the Department, and the Department’s handling of the Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchise.

Published:
10 Jan 2018