UK Project Management Round Up


By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK


Here in UK, we are enjoying an unusually mild autumn.  Despite a severe storm as the month closed, the rain has largely held off and temperatures are still very pleasant, at least here in the South although there has been a lot of wind and rain in the last few day.  Scotland and Northern England have not fared quite so well and the first serious snow of the winter fell at the end of the month.  In the Project World, the ‘weather’ is similar – mainly good but the odd storm, some quite severe.  On the stormy front, High Speed 2 (HS2) rumbles on in the Press as well as Parliament.  The whole infrastructure debate has taken a worryingly political turn too so there is quite a lot of rain on some project parades.  On the sunny side, there are encouraging signs in the power industry, especially in New Nuclear programmes and some project successes to report.


For a change, the rail project news is not all about High Speed 2, although there have been developments on that front.  The major news concerns Network Rail’s funding allocation.  The Government funds Network Rail through the Office of the Rail Regulator (ORR) via a 5 year financial plan called a Control Period (CP).  The latest issue is CP5.

The process employed to determine funding is somewhat arcane to an outsider but the Government sets out its requirements the High Level Output Specification (HLOS).  The current HLOS was published in the summer of 2012, and detailed what the Government wanted the rail industry to deliver in Control Period 5, 2014-2019.  Network Rail responds by working out its Strategic Business Plans which it issued in January 2013.  In its Strategic Business Plan, Network asked for £37.5bn to fund its operation, maintenance and enhancement (net of property and other income) for CP5.  In the Draft Determination the ORR assumed a total of £35.0bn, a cut of around £2.4 Billion.  In the Final Determination this has increased to £35.5bn so a compromise has been reached with Network Rail receiving an increase as a result of its proposals in reaction to the original determination.

Details of the full allocation can be found at http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk but the headlines include the closure of around 500 level crossings and safety improved at hundreds more as funding for level crossings was increased by £32m to a total of £109m.  Nine people died on level crossings last year, more than double the year before.  This sum is included in the £12bn allocated for “major enhancement projects”, such as lengthening platforms and electrification.  


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About the Author

miles shepherdflag-ukMILES SHEPHERD

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 [email protected].