New U.K. government body to regulate IT projects

The government has established a body called the Major Projects Authority, in order to regulate large projects including IT.

The MPA, created by the Treasury and the Cabinet Office, will attempt to ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget. Projects to be assessed include the £350 million troubled IT programme at the Rural Payment Agency.

Projects of over £100 million are the most likely to fall under the remit of the MPA.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude said: “Previously, government projects have had a poor delivery record. There was no cross-governmental understanding of the size and cost of the government’s major project portfolio, and projects often began with no agreed budget, no business case and unrealistic delivery timetables.”

“The MPA will work in collaboration with central government departments to help us get firmer control of our major projects both at an individual and portfolio level.”

The MPA will bring together commercial, finance and project management “expertise”, the government said. It will attempt to ensure there is a more “systematic” approach to managing projects.

It will compile a portfolio of major government projects and report publicly on them once a year, agree the plan for assurance and approval requirements at the start of projects, undertake assurance at key stages, work directly with departments to build capability in projects and programme management, and intervene directly in failing projects.

Last year, the government conducted a major projects review, which looked at 204 projects, with 31 subjected to “deep investigation”. Following the review, the £1.2 billion eBorders project with Raytheon and the £350 million FireControl programme with EADS were terminated.

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