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ICE Fellow gives evidence at Parliamentary Committee on government’s major projects 

26 June 2019

He referred to ICE's latest policy paper, as well as Project 13. 

ICE Fellow gives evidence at Parliamentary Committee on government’s major projects 

An ICE Fellow has given evidence at a Parliamentary Select Committee hearing about how the government could better manage major projects.

Miles Ashley FICE, Director at Wessex Advisory, appeared as a witness in front of the Public Administration and Constitutional Affairs Committee (PACAC) yesterday (25 June 2019).

He recently acted as Steering Group Chair for ICE’s recent policy paper, Reducing the gap between cost estimates and outturns for major infrastructure projects and programmes. This paper provided the basis of ICE’s submission in response to PACAC’s inquiry into the government's management of major projects.

Joining Ashley on the witness panel was Hannah Vickers, CEO of the Association for Consultancy and Engineering.

Moving from transactional to collaborative structures

Following a question from committee member Ronnie Cowan MP, regarding early planning and to what extent it can provide better estimates and costs, Ashley spoke about the benefits of the Project 13 principles.

“I think the way in which we approach early-stage project and programme development reflects the rather transactional structures that we intend to create,” Ashley said.

“We realise we have to go to market at some point, so we disaggregate design from delivery. We don’t involve the people delivering programmes early enough, getting their ideas and approaches to help optimise those benefits.”

Where the industry can move away from those transactional arrangements, Ashley said, and create an enterprise culture, through integrating design and delivery, we're rewarded with much better outcomes.

A good example of this, he said, was the Anglian @1Alliance.

“Sometimes we lose the possibility of advantage in setting up single project environments. There is much to be gained from longer-term arrangements, governed by better understanding of the outcomes we are trying to create."

The benefit of should-cost modelling

Referring to the Government’s Outsourcing Playbook, Eleanor Smith MP asked whether the recommendation that should-cost models be used to ensure contracts are awarded at a realistic price was consistently followed.

Ashley pointed out that ICE’s recent report made a clear recommendation that the themes within the Playbook, and in particular should-cost modelling, should be mandatory for government infrastructure owners.

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  • Emma Beer, media relations manager at ICE