Driving economic recovery through major projects

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The UK has recorded its biggest-ever portfolio of major projects and programmes - worth £805 billion - and major infrastructure projects will continue to drive economic growth for the remainder of 2023, according to the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA).

In its annual report, the IPA detailed the 244 projects (up from 235 last year) currently being delivered under the Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP).

It outlines the UK's biggest-ever portfolio of major projects and programmes, stating these are delivering on government’s commitment to drive economic growth, innovation and net zero in the years ahead.

However, there is also a warning that amidst global economic uncertainty, we now "Have to do even more with less".

Baroness Neville-Rolfe DBE CMG, Minister of State, Cabinet Office said: “Throughout the remainder of 2023 and beyond, major projects will continue to be a key driver of economic growth, levelling up and innovation for the United Kingdom. 

“That’s why this year’s Government Major Projects Portfolio is our most ambitious portfolio to date. 

"However, against a backdrop of global economic uncertainty caused by the pandemic and war in Ukraine, we have to do even more with less."

She added: “The increased size of our portfolio shows how this government is improving the way we deliver major projects; providing confidence that they will achieve their aims and deliver better public services for the British people.”

Economic and socially-important contribution 

The GMPP consists of some of the most challenging, ambitious and innovative projects the UK has ever seen, with the scale and scope matching some of the biggest in the world. 

This year’s portfolio is worth £805bn, and the IPA says this shows the economic and socially-important contribution major projects play to Britain. 

Since last year’s report, 29 projects have left the GMPP – 26 with a green or amber delivery confidence assessment. 

The IPA says this shows the positive impact reforms are having on performance over time.

The report also states the influx of major projects and programmes highlights the government's ambition to foster growth in skilled and innovative parts of the UK economy. 

IPA is also intervening earlier in a higher number of government projects from the very outset, providing critical support and increasing their likelihood of delivering to time and budget. 

Nick Smallwood, chief executive officer of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority said: “The UK now has the largest, most complex and high-profile portfolio of major projects and programmes.

 "I am therefore pleased to see that IPA’s approach to proactively intervene in and support the GMPP’s highest priority projects, and a commitment to getting them on track right in the early stages, is leading to a steady increase in deliverability.

“The continued excellence displayed in the Government Project Delivery Function has helped to mitigate the pressures of the challenging delivery environment we have faced over the last year. 

"We will of course continue to invest in this area by developing the expertise and leadership skills of our people through the Government Project Delivery Academy and suite of tools available to all professionals across government."

The IPA report says the investment in a Government Project Delivery Function is also a reflection of its increased portfolio size. 

By building project expertise, increasing capability and promoting leadership skills, the IPA believes it can transform delivery and increase productivity. 

Over 1,000 people have now gone through the Major Projects Leadership Academy and more than 2,000 people have attended the Major Project Leadership Programme. 

The IPA says these initiatives build the skills of senior project leaders across government, making it easier to carry out complex projects effectively. 

The IPA also reports Senior Responsible Owners, who are vital for the successful delivery of the current portfolio, have also increased their time spent delivering their major projects to almost 50%, leading to better project outcomes.

A more green and innovative UK

The IPA says throughout the rest of 2023, major projects will continue to be a key driver of sustainability, levelling up and digital innovation. 

It recognises government and industry must collectively address these challenges head on to deliver life-changing public services for the greater good of the UK.

The report states that is why its major projects are underpinned by the Transforming Infrastructure Performance (TIP) principles, which prioritise societal outcomes and drive transformation in infrastructure performance.

It adds that from HMP Five Wells to the National Law Enforcement Data Programme, more modern, green and digital measures are now being considered from the outset of a project. 

Read the annual report.

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