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1. Capability: delivering successful projects and programmes
1.1 What we do
The Major Projects Authority (MPA) is responsible for improving deliver of successful projects and programmes – one of the civil service’s priority capability areas. Successful projects need strong, effective leadership. Building and enhancing project leadership capability is one of the MPA’s main priorities.
Our capability vision is to:
- create a world class cadre of project professionals who are properly trained to lead each of our major projects, using the Major Projects Leadership Academy (MPLA)
- increase project leadership capability for priority projects at the tier below Government Major Projects Portfolio, through the Project Leadership Programme
- ensure we have the right Senior Responsible Officers (SROs) and project directors in place who have the autonomy and flexibility to deliver their projects
To deliver the vision we will:
- ensure that all eligible leaders of Government’s Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP) projects have enrolled on the MPLA programme
- ensure that the MPLA curriculum remains world class and relevant to changing requirements
- develop and launch the Project Leadership Programme (PLP) for project leaders below the GMPP tier project
- grow a sustainable pool of project leaders that can be deployed across government
- provide recruitment support to departments for senior project delivery posts
- develop a package to help ensure that the right SROs are appointed, with the right skills; that they are clear about their role; that they remain in post for the appropriate time and that they are rewarded properly
2. The Project Delivery Profession
2.1 What we do
The Chief Executive Officer of the Major Projects Authority is the Government Head of the Project Delivery Profession – responsible for developing and building a unified cross government Project Delivery Profession.
Our aspiration is to be the best in class, offering work of unrivalled scope and complexity with the chance to build a varied and rewarding career working on the country’s most interesting and important projects across government.
Our project delivery profession vision is to:
- attract and retain the best individuals, providing a rewarding career, supporting continuous professional development, building a community developing and sharing best practice
- develop and oversee the deployment of skilled project delivery resources for departments to enable cost effective delivery of policy
- improve delivery of (large through to small) project outcomes for the benefit of our society
The MPA’s actions to deliver the vision for the Project Delivery Profession are:
- governance: establishing strong and inclusive governance to lead strategic development and drive implementation
- community: creating a formal community; developing a brand, providing online support and facilitating networking and knowledge sharing
- structure: developing and implementing a structure for the profession: a curriculum that meets the needs, a career path that attracts and retains the best and supporting competency framework that enables standardisation across departments
- services: develop and deliver a portfolio of services to all departments and agencies, such as talent management and brokering
3. Strategic prioritisation and front end loading
3.1 What we do
As part of the Prime Minister’s mandate, the Major Projects Authority (MPA) is responsible for the development of strategic prioritisation and improvements in front end loading across government.
Strategic prioritisation involves being clear about the Government Major Projects Portfolio and department portfolios, what the resource loading looks like, what the constraints are, and how we can adjust and re-prioritize to meet the demands of the day. It also means we have to know what it takes to really deliver.
Front end loading involves ensuring that only the right projects are started, and that they are set up well from the outset to maximise delivery success.
Our strategic prioritisation and front end loading vision is to:
- help departments make the right decisions about priorities based on a holistic understanding of resourcing, constraints, risk and interdependencies
- ensure that only the right projects are started, and that they are set up well from the outset to maximise delivery success
- ensure all delivery options are properly considered at the outset, with proper understanding of budgetary requirements, resources, forces issues to be identified and addressed early, ensures that the right balance of cost, quality and outcome is achieved
- identify underperforming projects early and intervene where necessary to turn around, disaggregate or cancel these projects
To deliver the vision we will:
- promote ‘Top down and bottom up’ approach to prioritising portfolios
- maintain the formal best practise network for portfolio managers
- provide bespoke support in collaboration with operations to key departments against the ‘10 Areas Checklist’
- enhance the quality of insight and reporting to senior officials and ministers including GMPP submission and Civil Service Board
- develop evidence base critical project set-up issues
- develop the ‘IUK Plus’ offer for support in pre-commitment/project initiation processes
- develop training packages for reviewers and policy delivery experts
- strengthen processes around conditions of entry into GMPP
4. Challenge, assure, support
4.1 What we do
The Major Projects Authority (MPA) is the central independent assurance authority responsible for the Government Major Projects Portfolio. We challenge departments, assure the government’s major projects, and provide high levels of support and valuable objective advice to the project teams – enabling the positive delivery of projects for the taxpayer. The MPA’s assurance review process is an important component of a culture of identifying and addressing the challenges of delivering major projects. It consists of internal – but independent – reviews at key decision points in a project’s life-cycle, identifying what is going well, and providing recommendations to address issues.
We provide candid red/amber/green delivery confidence assessments giving unprecedented insight into the government’s transformative major projects, enabling attention to be focused across government where it is most required.
Our challenge, assure, support vision is to:
- continue to carry out reviews that get to the heart of the issues, provide insightful recommendations for action to improve delivery, and support to deliver this
- provide access to peers and experts with experience of delivering tough projects and the credibility to challenge existing thinking
- be a trusted source of support and advice to project delivery teams to help them get the work done
To deliver the vision we will:
- ensure no project enters the GMPP without first undergoing a Project Validation Review (PVR)
- continue to undertake high quality assurance reviews
- continue to recruit experienced assurance reviewers who provide insightful project recommendations
- ensure that central departments are aware of the MPA’s Integrated Assurance Toolkit
- publish the MPA annual report as part of our commitment to increased transparency
- undertake targeted recruitment to ensure subject matter expert reviewers are utilised on reviews
5.1 What we do
The Major Projects Authority (MPA) leads on coordinating central government activity in relation to the circa 200 government major projects. Alignment involves coordinating activities both within the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG), Cabinet Office and with HM Treasury officials, to rationalise the assurance/scrutiny activities of the centre to reduce duplication and combine the strengths offered.
Our alignment vision is to:
- provide projects with the space to ‘get on and do’ in a project environment within agreed tolerances, receiving packaged approval for each phase of activity covering multiple types of spend, to reduce delays and costs
- ensure government’s commercial and digital strategies are applied to projects at the outset
- deliver a more predictable environment for project leaders, with clear authority to act between key decision points
To deliver the vision we will:
- providing leadership for projects to navigate the Centre and ERG in the commercial and digital space
- understanding the fuller operating environment of projects so that funding approval stages, assurance and milestone checkpoints are completed in as smooth a process as possible
- enabling pre-approval of compliance with current government policy eg commercial and digital strategies at the outset of the project and well ahead of subsequent approval points
- involving central teams in reaching agreement with the project at its outset on the contribution the project needs to make to building up commercial and technical capability
- ensuring Cabinet Office teams can continue to challenge wasteful and/or unnecessarily high expenditure through setting clear spend parameters/metrics/benchmarks for external contracts
*[MPLA] Major Projects Leadership Academy