I recently had the opportunity to chair the launch of the Enabling Better Infrastructure programme at One Great George Street - and then see the potential positive impact it can have - all in 24 hours.
The flagship programme and its accompanying report were also launched in four other cities around the world by ICE and its partners with two more to come this week. Whilst it certainly doesn’t purport to be an ‘instruction manual’ it really does pull together best practice from around the world about how national governments might set a vision for their nation. It also looks at what infrastructure changes they might need in order to realise that vision, put in place a needs assessment, prioritise processes and a produce a delivery strategy.
The various launch events attracted many government officials keen to assimilate best practice and perhaps select the elements from the programme that are the most relevant to their situations.
A free Resource Hub containing 70 international case studies has also been made available. It is really important that this is continually updated and maintained.
Within 24 hours I was sitting with the Permanent Secretary for the Department of Infrastructure in Northern Ireland (NI) discussing the report and the genuine value it will offer their strategic infrastructure planning. In the New Year, ICE’s NI team will pull together a paper examining the need for an independent NI infrastructure advisory body; the Enabling Better Infrastructure programme will be useful in supporting this work.
The fact that the ICE is non-partisan and seen as a respected, independent and strong voice is recognised and understood by all, adding credibility to the report.
This has been a great example of thought leadership that we have been instrumental in driving and has at its heart, global development and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals - something we should all be proud to hear about and see in action.
Staying in NI for another 24 hours after that meeting I was really enthused by the engagement of our Graduate and Student network in debating the future of technology in our industry. Following that was a debate about the use of digital platforms in our every-day work life, and whether we are seeing iteration or revolution. Compered by a BBC NI presenter with speakers and an audience from across the industry, it was a great learning event.
The annual dinner that evening entertained well over 500 people and demonstrated how close a community the NI construction sector is. Let’s hope the government is formed once again in the near future so that it can re-engage with developing NI’s infrastructure.