Last edited 23 Oct 2020

Rag report

A RAG report (RAG rating, RAG status or Delivery Confidence Assessment) presents a status assessment using the traffic light colour designations; Red, Amber or Green. This gives a very visual and immediate way of identifying problem areas and potential problem areas.

The precise definition of different colour designations will vary between organisations, and so it is important that it is clearly set out, understood and used consistently. Typically, specific tasks, or components will be designated a colour status, where:

  • Red indicates that primary objectives are at serious risk and remedial action is necessary.
  • Amber indicates that it is possible the item will progress as planned but there is a problem and the objectives may be at risk. Action is being taken, or the problem is being monitored.
  • Green indicates that the item is progressing as planned and that no action is necessary.

RAG reports can be used for a number of different purposes, including:

Individual Items may be assessed against a range of key performance indicators such as; programme, budget, compliance with the brief, sustainability, health and safety, energy performance and so on.

RAG reports are not an end in their own right, and are only effective if they are used as a way of instigating targeted action. Some organisations may adopt a reporting strategy that sets out who needs to be informed if an item is given an amber or red designation, and when items may need to be escalated.

RAG designations may need to be accompanied by additional information explaining the position, as ratings in isolation can be misleading or uninformative particularly in the early stages of projects, where red or amber designations may be given simply due to the level of development of the project and the inevitable uncertainty surrounding it. A red designation may not result in a failure as long as strategies are in place to move towards an amber and then green designation as the project progresses. Reports may include previous designations to give a sense of the direction of travel.

Some reports adopt an extended five-point traffic light system, including a green/amber and amber/red designation to give a finer degree of assessment, where:

  • Amber/red indicates that there is serious doubt about whether the item will progress as planned and action is necessary.
  • Green/amber indicates that the item is likely to progress as planned, but attention is necessary to ensure that risks do not develop into issues that might threaten the project objectives.

Blue is sometimes used to indicate that an item has been completed, or that responsibility has transferred to another organisation.

NB the OGC Gateway 3 Investment decision adopted by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) is:

RAG Criteria Description
Green Successful delivery of the project to time, cost and quality appears highly likely and there are no major outstanding issues that at this stage appear to threaten delivery.
Amber/Green Successful delivery appears probable. However, constant attention will be needed to ensure risks do not materialise into major issues threatening delivery.
Amber Successful delivery appears feasible but significant issues already exist requiring management attention. These appear resolvable at this stage and, if addressed promptly, should not present a cost/schedule overrun.
Amber/Red Successful delivery of the project is in doubt with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas. Urgent action is needed to ensure these are addressed, and establish whether resolution is feasible.
Red Successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable. There are major issues which, at this stage, do not appear to be manageable or resolvable. The project may need re-base lining and/or overall viability re-assessed.

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