March 2018 UK Project Management Round Up

Brexit, The Battle for GKN, Professional News and Salisbury



By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK



Well, as our friends say, we live in interesting times.  As winter creeps slowly into Spring, the news has been dominated by three themes.  First, the seeming ever-present BREXIT looms over us, then we have just had a knock-down, drag out fight for control of a major engineering contractor and to cap it all, we have had a major incident in my home city.  While all this has been happening, the PM associations have been active – so there is something for everyone this month.


At the end of March, the 29th to be precise, BREXIT is exactly one year away.  We are told that negotiations are progressing well, and even the BBC seems to swallow that.  So we can all be happy that someone knows what the result is likely to mean even if they are not letting the rest of us know.

The Infrastructure Projects Authority have issued a report (NAO 24 Nov 17) on how they are supporting the Government major projects portfolio and stated that there are no new projects to implement EU Exit on the GMPP, but the Authority has identified that EU Exit will affect at least 10 existing projects.”  The report then explains how IPA supports early planning of EU Exit projects.  IPA is adapting its approach to assurance to meet the specific challenges of EU Exit and supporting project and programme management capability.  It closes with an assessment of the impact of EU Exit on the Authority’s organisation and resources.

This gives a clear indication that the Government’s major projects are well aware of the potential problems, but many will be concerned with the lack a formal Exit Project.  According to the Times, Lord Adonis claimed that industry infrastructure in the form of power stations, landing capacity at airports, and high speed broad band availability all indicate a failure of Ministerial planning and strategy in hos evidence  to the House of Commons Business Select Committee  Personally, I’m more concerned that there is no BREXIT Programme as that seems to me that there is no co-ordination across the whole of Government or indeed any notion that industry more broadly needs some support.  We just have to hope that the APM briefings are on point.

Some will also ask, what will there to be to report this time next year when the Great Escape has happened – although will be a two year transition period.


GKN is an engineering conglomerate with annual sales of around £10 billion employing more than 60,000 staff world-wide and has 160 operating plants in 33 countries so it is an important player in the UK economy.  With the weak £ and GKN’s sluggish performance in recent years, a battle to take over the company was not unexpected.  The take over battle began last year with several bidders in the running but resistance was effective at first, but events moved quickly.

In February GKN announced a transformation plan that was expected to be part funded by the sale of its highly profitable powder metallurgy business, reputedly worth £2 billion with the rest going into the Pension Fund.  By this stage, Melrose was offering about £7.4 billion and 57% of the enlarged firm which GKN said was the equivalent of buying them on the cheap and using GKN’s money to do it!  Needless to say Melrose attached the GKN sell off plan.  Experts noted that any sale would need to make a major contribution to the pension fund which as a £1.1 billion deficit.


To read entire report, click here


About the Author

Miles Shepherd

Salisbury, UK



Miles Shepherd is an executive editorial advisor and international correspondent for PM World Journal 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 and a Fellow of the International Project Management Association (IPMA).  He is currently a Director for PMI’s Global Accreditation Centre and is immediate past 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 [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/