As part of the package of reforms that have been introduced to the MoD the Projects of Concern list has had an airing this week.
The Major Projects Review Board is designed to hold the top 50 major projects to account.
Liam Fox made a point of stating that the list, or at least the process that gets to the list, is having a positive impact, saying this,
It is clear that the additional rigour and scrutiny being applied through the Major Projects Review Board is having a beneficial effect on the behaviours of our suppliers.
The first project out of the starting gates, with Falcon and Watchkeeper neatly sidestepping the list, was the Valiant Jetty. This is a building project that is redeveloping port facilities for the submarine fleet. The project is 4 years late and 70% over budget, self evidently something to be concerned about.
Australia has used a similar system to mark the cards of failing projects but I can’t help the feeling that it is rather a gimmick, we already have the Defence Select Committee, Parliamentary Accounts Committee and of course the National Audit Office providing elements of supervision and financial governance so what does the projects of concern actually add?
Surely it would make more sense simply to beef up the annual NAO Major Projects Report, extend its scope or lower the entry point for reporting.
The Major Projects Review Board will provide closer supervision and active management of these projects so there is a distinction and of course, is inside the organisational boundaries of the MoD so only time will tell if it can withstand internal pressures and be transparent.
The NAO 2010 Major Projects Report lists the following post main gate projects as forecasted to be over budget or over time
- Type 45 Destroyer
- Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers
- Nimrod MRA4
- Lynx Wildcat
- Beyond Visual Range Air to Air Missile
- Typhoon Future Capability Programme
- Falcon Increment A
- Seawolf MLU
- Land Environment Picture Provision
- Chinook Project Julius
- Maritime Composite Training System Phase 1
So these are self-evidently not concerning and lets pick on Amec!
Let’s hope the new system delivers results.