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Last edited 19 Jul 2021
Senior responsible owner
'...responsible for ensuring that a programme of change or a project meets its objectives and delivers the projected benefits. The SRO should be the owner of the overall business change that is being supported by the project and should ensure that the change maintains its business focus, has clear authority and that the context, including risks, is actively managed. This individual must be senior and must take personal responsibility for successful delivery of the project. They should be recognised as the owner throughout the organisation.'
The senior responsible owner has ownership of the project at a senior level (equivalent to the board director responsible for the project in the private sector). Their responsibilities are strategic rather than day to day.
The senior responsible owner's responsibilities are:
- To be the design champion for the project, with a personal commitment to delivering a facility that demonstrates design excellence – or to ensure that an appropriate individual takes on the responsibility of design champion.
- To oversee the preparation of the business case and budget for the project, ensuring the proposals are realistic and meet the business objectives, and submitting them to the IDM investment decision maker) for approval.
- To establish an appropriate organisation structure and the necessary communication processes to ensure that users and other stakeholders are involved in, and committed to, the project.
- To appoint a project sponsor and provide the terms of reference, adequate resources and any necessary support and training to ensure that a brief is developed that clearly reflects the project objectives and is agreed by the stakeholders.
- To establish a progress and reporting procedure, ensuring that any changes in circumstances affecting the project are evaluated and appropriate action taken.
- To resolve issues with members of the client team and other stakeholders.
- To approve any essential changes to the scope of the project, ensuring that any impact on quality, cost or time is assessed and reported to top management as appropriate.
- To ensure that a post implementation review (also known as post occupancy evaluation) is carried out and considered by all stakeholders in the project.
- To ensure that the finished asset still supports and satisfies the business objectives to ensure that the business accepts and benefits from the finished asset.
- The SRO (senior responsible owner) should draw up the terms of appointment for the project sponsor, setting out the following:
- the business needs to be addressed by the project
- the resources available to the project sponsor, internally and externally
- the authority delegated to the project sponsor for decision making
- the project sponsor's responsibilities in relation to health and safety regulations (see AE10:Health and safety).
Illustration reproduced with permission from OGC (ref. OGC Guide 2: Project organisation: roles and responsibilities.)
The Green Book, Central Government Guidance On Appraisal And Evaluation, Published by HM Treasury in 2020, suggests the Senior Responsible Owner: ‘…is the person to whom the project or programme manager reports, they "own" the proposal on behalf of the originating organisation but do not take part in its detailed day to day running. They have overall responsibility for asking questions, keeping it on track, dealing with significant external problems and making strategic decisions on submission for approval or not.’
Project Routemap, Setting up projects for success, Organisational Design & Development, UK Module, published by the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, states: ‘All UK government projects will have a senior responsible owner. They are accountable to the sponsor organisation for a programme or project meeting its objectives, delivering the projected outcomes and realising the required benefits. The senior responsible owner is the owner of the business case and accountable for governance. The senior responsible owner of a government major project is ultimately accountable to Parliament.’
 Related articles on Designing Buildings Wiki
- Decision maker.
- Government construction strategy.
- Independent client adviser.
- Integrated project team.
- Integrated supply team.
- Investment decision maker.
- Major Projects Authority.
- Project board.
- Project manager.
- Project sponsor.
- Public procurement.
- User panel.
 External references
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