A portfolio costs and risks management audit for Highways England
In 2015 the Highways Agency became Highways England : a company wholly owned by the government. As such it came under the scrutiny of the rail regulatory body which extended its remit to include roads (The Office of Rail and Road).
The change in funding status gave Highways England the opportunity to review its long-term planning approaches and seek out the best way to fund and manage long-term infrastructure projects. The government regulator was keen to ensure that right from the inception of the newly-formed Highways England, plans for efficiency improvements were identified and put into practice. You can read more about the ORR and the second road investment strategy here in it’s original context.
Working together, the two bodies invited tenders to select a supplier to evaluate a number of the critical business processes. CITI was chosen to research, analyse and report back on portfolio and programme management. CITI had worked with the Highways Agency previously and has a deep understanding of the road sector and a profound expertise in the field of project management.
As an independent Small Medium Enterprise it provided a fresh, expertise-driven, impartial approach. As a specialist project consultancy group CITI does not suffer from some of the concern sometimes mooted around the big-4 consultancy groups – same people, same opinions, same agendas.
The piece of work was commissioned jointly by Highways England and the regulator, illustrating a great example of how government and regulators can work cooperatively to drive out value-for-money outcomes whilst retaining their distinct roles and necessary separation of responsibilities. For the engagement this was also one of the big challenges. How to create a report which satisfied the needs of two major stakeholders and as the report was to made public – a third stakeholder – the general public.
It was decided that a single report, a single source of truth, was important to achieve. Separate reports would be divisive. The report had to crafted and carefully constructed to meet all of the following requirements:
- For Highways England: it had to provide clear and tangible improvement plans for portfolio and programme management. Something they could use to guide their improvement activities
- For the Office of Rail and Road: efficiency savings must be unambiguously identified along with measures that could be used to monitor and assess the improvements
- For the Public: the report had to be readable and must illustrate how government groups such as Highways England were being held accountable in real, measurable ways.
CITI had to assimilate large amounts of information in a relatively short time to create the final report. Without its expertise in projects, programmes and portfolios, it would simply not have been possible to identify the pertinent information and prioritise the gathering and analysis of data. You can find a copy of the report on the Office of Rail and Road website
Should you like to hear more about our project, portfolio and programme expert consultancy services then contact CITI firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01908283600