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28.05.13

First report from Major Projects Authority ‘overturns Whitehall secrecy’

Progress being made on some of the biggest public sector projects, worth over £350bn, has been detailed in the first annual report from the new body set up to oversee the works.

The Major Projects Authority (MPA), launched in 2011, says it has helped save £1.7bn so far, partly for intervening to re-scope or close failing projects like FiReControl and the NHS National Programme for IT.

David Pitchford, head of the MPA, said: “I’ve led major projects around the world and I have to say that when I started this job in the UK standards were not great.

“There have been big changes and Britain is now well on the way to becoming world-class. The Major Projects Authority has real power to intervene in failing projects and stop taxpayers’ money being wasted. Of course it’s just the start, we must keep up the pressure all the time – our annual report will make sure that happens.”

The MPA annual report “overturns Whitehall secrecy”, according to a Cabinet Office statement.

Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude (pictured) said: “I was staggered when I came into Government and found a relaxed approach to managing projects worth hundreds of billions of pounds. Problems were swept under the carpet where they festered at the taxpayers’ expense. In many places the Civil Service lacked project management skills and had a lamentable record of project delivery.

“Since the General Election we have got things back on track and are equipping the civil servants with the skills they need.”

He said the target is to double the success rate of major projects compared with 2010’s figures.

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