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Department of Transport releases report on learning lessons in infrastructure

Our City Hall London forum in June will be discussing the important infrastructure developments in the UK that will allow our cities to thrive in the future.

The Permanent Secretary, Department of Transport, Bernadette Kelly, has just released in the last couple of days, a report jointly with the Infrastructure Projects Authority, identifying 24 practical, best-practice lessons, with regard to infrastructure delivery.

They are across five key themes - accountability, behaviours, control of schedule, costs and benefits, systems integration and entry into service - many of which she says are currently in place as part of project delivery but all will be embedded and help to raise the bar of delivery in government.

'Transport infrastructure plays a key part in our lives, in the economy, and in the connectivity and quality of the places in which we live. Building and improving our transport infrastructure requires the successful delivery of some of the biggest and most complex projects in the UK, and indeed the world...however we do need to address the significant challenges we have seen in the delivery of some of our major projects, including most recently on Crossrail.

'successful delivery of projects is as much about the interaction of human behaviours, in particular around accountability, trust and transparency, as it is about processes', she stated.

The report notes that the controlled delivery of the Government's major projects is fundamental to realising their intended benefits, allowing investment decisions to be taken confidently in the likely range of outturn costs and deadlines, and delivering the new capabilities into service in a way which protects current users.

Additionally, it describes how 'different sorts of issues can arise through the project lifecycle. The design stage is of particular importance as it establishes the pre-conditions for successful delivery and a poorly initiated project may not be recoverable. Departments should understand the scale and complexity of the projects they seek to deliver, as well as their existing portfolio and overall capacity, and consider delivery arrangements accordingly. If Departments rush mobilisation and fail to establish the right culture, clear accountabilities, appropriate resources, a realistic budget and achievable timescales, then it can be very challenging to deliver a major project successfully however great the subsequent motivations and efforts'.

Both the IPA and the NIC will be contributing to our June forum discussions.

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