Friday, 15 May 2009

Defence projects continue to overrun and go over budget: now there's a surprise.

The House of Commons Public Accounts Committee has just published its "Ministry of Defence: Major Projects Report2008". This is their take on the similar report from the National Audit Office published in December 2008. And just like the NAO, the PCA paints a depressing picture of the MoD's management of the country's major £multibillion defence projects.........

"In the last year, the 20 biggest projects suffered a further £205 million of cost increases, and 96 months additional slippage. This is the worst in-year slippage since 2003. The total forecast costs for these projects have now risen to nearly £28 billion, some 12% over budget. Total slippage stands at over 40 years, a 36% increase on approved timescales. The number of Key User Requirements reported as being “at risk” of not being met has also increased from 12 to 16 in the last year.
This is a disappointing set of results, particularly because the problems are being caused by previously identified failures such as poor project management, a lack of realism, not identifying key dependencies and underestimating of costs and timescales

The Committee identified 8 major areas of weakness but the most worrying conclusion to come out of the project review is that project delays are putting Britain's frontline troops at even greater risk. Poor project management at the MoD is having a "detrimental impact on operational capability" and causing "gaps in front-line capability". Not only that but things are actually getting worse!