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Major Projects Leadership Academy celebrates first set of graduates

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Chief Secretary to the Treasury congratulates the first cohort of government graduates from the Major Projects Leadership Academy.

Danny Alexander in meeting with participants
Danny Alexander discusses the programme with current and graduated participants

The first leaders have graduated from the Major Projects Leadership Academy, marking a major milestone in up skilling leaders of government major projects.

21 civil servants have graduated from the academy designed specifically to train leaders who manage major projects across the public sector such as infrastructure, commercial and organisational change projects.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander congratulated graduates during a visit to Saïd Business School, where the academy is based.

Participants on the programme have been drawn from a wide range of major government projects including the replacement of the MoD’s deterrent submarines and part of HM Courts and Tribunal’s transformation programme.

Last year, minister for the Cabinet Office, Francis Maude, launched the MPLA. The programme is delivered by Oxford Saïd Business School in conjunction with Deloitte. Participants on the programme receive training from leading academics and leading practitioners from the public and private sectors.

The programme is designed to equip future leaders with the skills and knowledge to enable them to deliver successfully major projects on time and within budget.

A major project can be in infrastructure, commercial, or organisational change. Recent successful major projects include the Olympics and Crossrail, but the government wants to build on this.

By being able to deliver a project in time and on budget, the government can ensure that taxpayers are getting value for money. Delivered effectively, big projects can bring huge rewards for the economy, creating jobs and boosting growth.

As part of the future Treasury approvals process for major programmes, all project leaders and senior responsible owners will have to complete the programme.

Visiting the graduates, Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said:

We have set out a huge programme for investing in the infrastructure Britain needs. In the past, too many projects went wrong because departments didn’t have the right skills.

The MPLA is helping to make sure we have the right people with the right skills to deliver on time and on budget. The graduates I met were clear that the project leadership skills they have learned make a real difference to delivery. That’s why I’ve decided that all senior leaders will need to take this course before the Treasury gives the green light for any major project.

By next year over 300 people will have gained these skills and so help ensure we deliver our projects quicker and more efficiently so that taxpayers get value for money. I look forward to seeing the benefits of their new skills and knowledge in the future.

Minister for the Cabinet Office Francis Maude added:

The academy will significantly improve the quality of Major Project leadership at the heart of Whitehall, reducing over-reliance on external consultants, elevating the status of the profession and developing a cadre of world-class major project leadership supported by a peer group of exceptional quality and experience.

If Britain is to get ahead in the global race and deliver the government’s ambitious programme of reforms, we must run major projects effectively – hardworking taxpayers expect nothing less.

Estimates show around two thirds of major projects were failing to deliver their promises on time or on budget before 2010. The Major Projects Authority was set up in 2011 with a mandate from the Prime Minister to turn around this poor record.

The Major Projects Authority (MPA) sits within the Cabinet Office and acts as the government’s project watchdog, providing resources for civil servants, standardised assurance for Ministers and transparency for taxpayers.

The Major Projects Leadership Academy was established by the MPA. By the end of 2014 340 project leaders will have graduated or be participating on the programme.

Published 4 October 2013