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Last edited 16 Jul 2021
Infrastructure and Projects Authority
On 12 November 2015, the Treasury announced plans to merge two separate bodies to create a new Infrastructure and Projects Authority.
The Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) was created on 1 January 2016, by combining the operations of Infrastructure UK (IUK) and the Major Projects Authority (MPA) to share their in-house knowledge of managing major infrastructure projects. (Ref. Gov.uk 1 January 2015.)
Established in 2010, IUK supported major projects involving public capital as well as leading on PFI policy across government. Established in 2011, the MPA was given a mandate to oversee and assure 200 of the largest government projects totaling nearly £500bn in public spending. Their function was to develop programme management expertise within the civil service and intervene if projects went wrong.
The new Infrastructure and Projects Authority provides expertise, knowledge and skills in managing and delivering major economic projects for the government. It brings together financing, delivery and assurance of projects ranging from large-scale infrastructure projects such as Crossrail and the Thames Tideway Tunnel to major transformation programmes such as Universal Credit. 'Major projects' are those which require HM Treasury funding approval during their life cycle.
It reports jointly to the Chancellor and to the minister for the Cabinet Office. The chief executive Tony Meggs transferred from his role as interim chief executive for the MPA. Geoffrey Spence, chief executive of IUK, left government service for the private sector.
Chancellor George Osborne said: “By bringing together Infrastructure UK with the Major Projects Authority, and creating the new National Infrastructure Commission, we are moving to the next stage in our plan to ensure Britain's economy gets the transformational projects it needs.
"I'd like to thank Geoffrey Spence for the brilliant job he has done leading Infrastructure UK since July 2011. Under his leadership, IUK became a more effective organisation, successfully developing and implementing the UK's National Infrastructure Plan, the UK Guarantee Scheme for infrastructure and a new model for private sector delivery of public service, PF2."
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Matt Hancock said:
“The new Infrastructure and Projects Authority is a further step forward in delivering what Britain needs to prosper in the twenty-first century. By combining projects expertise with funding authority we will improve the government's ability to deliver, and the economic security that comes with it. Tony Meggs has been a hugely respected chief executive of the MPA and has the leadership and capability to make the new organisation a great success.”
However, on 6 January, just days after the creation of the new Authority, a National Audit Office (NAO) report suggest that unless action was taken to improve the management of major projects, one third of those due to be delivered in the next 5 years could be unachievable, and that it was unclear what impact the creation of bodies to oversee projects had had. (Ref. NAO, Delivering major projects in government: a briefing for the Committee of Public Accounts.)
NAO suggest that "It is particularly worrying that a third of projects (37 out of 106) due to deliver in the next five years are rated as red or amber-red... Progress in improving portfolio management is disappointing with no single organisation having a view of the whole portfolio of government projects."
NAO Auditor General Amyas Morse said, “…I am concerned that a third of projects monitored by the authority are red or amber-red and the overall picture of progress on project performance is opaque. More effort is needed if the success rate of project delivery is to improve.”
A Cabinet Office spokesman said, “This government is committed to improving the way major projects are run. That is why we set up the Infrastructure and Projects Authority – to save taxpayers' money and improve public services. This is helping achieve over £3bn of savings in 2014/15 alone.”
In December 2016, the government published details of the £500bn pipeline of investment in infrastructure. The new National Infrastructure & Construction Pipeline is 60% funded by the private sector and 40% by the state. For more information see: Government construction and infrastructure pipelines.
A revised pipeline was published on 6 December 2017, alongside a new Transforming Infrastructure Performance programme, setting out plans to improve infrastructure and boost the productivity of the construction sector with the intention of saving £15 billion a year on economic infrastructure such as transport and energy networks, and social infrastructure such as schools and hospitals. For more information see: Transforming Infrastructure Performance.
In July 2021, the IPA published an updated routemap for novel or complex major projects. https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-infrastructure-delivery-project-initiation-routemap
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