Major projects authority MPA
The Major Projects Authority was established by the government to '...bring about the successful delivery of major projects across central Government by working with departments to ensure the fitness and quality of major projects throughout their life' (ref HM Treasury, Major project approval and assurance guidance).
A project is defined as a 'major project' if it meets any of the following criteria:
- It requires HM Treasury approval.
- It could lead to a breach in departmental expenditure limits.
- It involves significant levels of unplanned spending.
- It could set an expensive precedent.
 Major projects procedures
Procedures set out by the Major Projects Authority are mandatory for all major projects. They focus on a series of reviews and approvals at key stages in the development of a project.
An Integrated Assurance and Approval Plan (IAAP) is prepared for a major project, setting out the review and approval process that will be adopted.
Projects will generally be reviewed at the following stages:
- Starting gate review. See Cabinet Office Starting Gate Guidance. A starting gate review is commissioned by submitting a Risk Potential Assessment (RPA) to the Major Projects Authority. (See Cabinet Office, Risk Potential Assessment Form).
- Strategic outline case, before any public commitments are made (this may be preceded by OGC gateway review 1 or some other project assessment review (PAR)).
- Outline business case, before OJEU notices are placed (this may be preceded by OGC gateway review 2 or some other project assessment review (PAR)).
- Full business case, before contracts are finalised (this may be preceded by OGC gateway review 3 or some other project assessment review).
- Further project assessment reviews depending on the nature of the specific project. These may follow OGC gateway reviews.
- Consequential reviews for projects that are in difficulty.
The forum for approving major projects at agreed milestones may be either a:
- Major Projects Review Group (MPRG).
- Treasury Approval Point with panel meeting.
- Treasury Approval Point without panel meeting.
The Major Projects Review Group consists of government and private sector experts, from which a panel of three or four individuals are selected to review projects that meets any of the following criteria:
- The whole life costs are over £1bn.
- They are high risk and complex.
- They set a precedent.
- They are highly innovative.
- They are 'of concern'.
Panel meetings are informed by an 'assessment team report' and a 'project and department briefing paper' produced by an assessment team as a result of a project assessment review.
The panel chair will make a recommendation to either:
- Approve the project.
- Approve the project with conditions.
- Halt the project's progress.
Generally, the Treasury Approval Point process reviews projects outside the departmental delegated authority but below the level required for Major Projects Review Group scrutiny (usually £1bn).
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- BIM Task Group.
- Common Minimum Standards.
- Efficiency and Reform Group.
- Government Construction Strategy.
- Infrastructure and Projects Authority.
- Infrastructure UK.
- Nationally significant infrastructure projects.
- OGC Gateway Review process.
- Public procurement.
- The Green Book.
- Whole life costs.
 External references.
- Major Projects Authority, Assurance Toolkit.
- HM Treasury, Major project approval and assurance guidance.
- Cabinet Office,Integrated Assurance and approvals, Lifespan of a Major Project on the Government Major Projects Portfolio.
- Cabinet Office, MPA Integrated Assurance Toolkit for Major Projects.
- Cabinet Office,Starting Gate Guidance
- Cabinet Office, Risk Potential Assessment Form
- Cabinet Office, A Guide to Planning Integrated Assurance and Approvals
- HM Treasury, Green Book. A framework for the appraisal and evaluation of all policies, programmes and projects.
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