Our Account Managers Laura Cunliffe-Hall and Alessia Rosi attended a keynote speech by Nick Smallwood, Chief Executive Officer of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) and Head of Government’s Project Delivery Function on ‘How to deliver major government projects’ at the Institute for Government.

Here are our five key takeaways:

  • Major infrastructure projects need to level up in light of the Government’s commitment to bringing forward an ‘infrastructure revolution’  and with an upcoming fourth industrial revolution in the pipeline. Projects need to be delivered faster, by putting the right skills into the supply chain and using modern and innovative construction methods.
  • The procurement process is essentially a journey. Government needs to be clearer on requirements and expectations regarding outcomes to empower their delivery bodies.
  • Project cost and scope estimates need to improve and move from being ambitious to established in both strategic and realistic potential. Smallwood highlighted that 75% of projects in the energy industry alone, over-spend by more than 25% – this inefficiency generates mistrust when it comes to stakeholders.
  • The challenge to reach net-zero 2050 targets cannot be underestimated. However, net-zero is at the top of the agenda and will require a strong cross-government response.
  • The importance of people. People are at the heart of each project and behind every deliverable. We need to make sure that the skills across the infrastructure sector are being appropriately utilised and highlight the success stories in public project delivery.

But the challenge remains – how can you ensure the successful delivery of major projects in a continuously shifting political landscape? Project success must also be measured by social impact and public perception, alongside other KPIs (key performance indicators) relating to technical innovation and cost-effectiveness.