April 2017 UK Project Management Round Up


Brexit, APM Royal Charter and transition to formal professional body, contracting problems in some major projects and some unsettling news from the nuclear industry

By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK



There are two main themes to the project world in UK this month.  First, the Prime Minister has informed the European Union (EU) the United Kingdom (UK) will be leaving the Union.  Second, and in project terms, more significant is the transition of the Association for Project Management (APM) to its new position as the professional body for projects.  Other items of interest include contracting problems in some major projects and some unsettling news from the nuclear industry.


There can be few readers who have not heard the news that Prime Minister May notified the EU that UK will leave – and triggered the two-year negotiating period to determine future relations between UK and the EU.  This process is defined in Article 50 of the Treaty of Rome.  As might be expected in a complex negotiating situation, there have been extravagant demands on both sides, many unreasonable and even more unrealistic.  The worst-case outcome is for UK to simply walk away from the EU with no agreement over matters such as trade, treatment of EU nationals resident in UK and UK citizens resident in EU states.  There are also other concerns such as the ability of UK lawyers and accountants to participate in the non-financial services industry which account for up to a third of UK exports.

One of the hotter topics has been the threat to UK sovereignty over Gibraltar when it seems Mr Tusk, the EU chief negotiator has offered a veto to Spain on any matters affecting the Rock.  The Prime Minister has already raised security and intelligence cooperation as a stumbling block so things look like getting nasty pretty quickly.

At the more practical level, there are some warning signs with press reports that EU migrants are leaving UK for better paid work in the EU, a serious matter as UK depends to some extent on skilled workers in many industries such as the Health Service and hospitality industry.  The pay these workers receive has not actually fallen but the buying power has been affected by the drop in the value of Sterling.  At the professional level, there are reports of French and German companies leaving UK and several international banks have warned staff to expect moves to EU cities.

The fall in the value of Sterling has not been entirely negative, despite the increase in the cost of imports, as UK exports have done very well, particularly car manufacturing.  How long this lasts in the face of BREXIT negotiations is another matter.

From a project perspective, the impact of BREXIT uncertainty is far from clear.  The construction industry has raised concerns over investment that drives major projects such as office development, power station builds and infrastructure such as roads and HS2.  Clearly, there is much concern and few answers.  The one thing that is certain is that negotiations will be difficult, protracted and hard to second guess.  This is a time for clear thinking, boldness and being alert for unexpected consequences.  Sounds like a normal day at the office for Project Managers!


John McGlynn Chairman, David Wabooso, President and Sara Drake, CEP with the Royal Charter.  Photo AP

The Association for Project Management (APM) became a Chartered body on 1 April – not an auspicious day normally but one that has been long awaited.  The public unveiling of the Charter (above) took place at APM’s Princes Risbrough Offices at the end of March.  Joining APM Board, Vice Presidents and staff was the Right Honourable John Bercow, Speaker of the House of Commons and local Member of Parliament.  The story goes back a long way – to 2003 when background investigation began but real progress was made under the direction of Tom Taylor as APM Chairman and Andrew Bragg, APM CEO.  Later, Mike Nicholls took the reins but sadly missed the Notice of Grant which came in October 2016 and formally announced in January.  The next major step will be the issue of the Chartered Project Professional Standard after a period of public consultation.  There is a great deal of behind the scenes work to be done in drafting the Standard and then implementing it but the Register will open for application in spring 2018.


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About the Author


Salisbury, UK



Miles Shepherd is an executive editorial advisor and international correspondent for PM World in the United Kingdom. He is also managing director for MS Projects Ltd, a consulting company supporting various UK and overseas Government agencies, nuclear industry organisations and other businesses.  Miles has over 30 years’ experience on a variety of projects in UK, Eastern Europe and Russia.  His PM experience includes defence, major IT projects, decommissioning of nuclear reactors, nuclear security, rail and business projects for the UK Government and EU.   Past Chair and Fellow of the Association for Project Management (APM), Miles is also past president and chair of the International Project Management Association (IPMA).  He is currently Director of PMI’s Global Accreditation Centre and the Chair of the ISO committee developing new international standards for Project Management and for Program/Portfolio Management.  He was involved in setting up APM’s team developing guidelines for project management oversight and governance.  Miles is based in Salisbury, England and can be contacted at miles.shephe[email protected]

To view other works by Miles Shepherd, visit his author showcase in the PM World Library at http://pmworldlibrary.net/authors/miles-shepherd/.