UK Project Management Roundup


By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK


It seems the old maxim ‘be careful what you wish for’ is still true as the repercussions from last month’s Government spending plans continue to reverberate in the project world.  A look at the main projects should show how the UK Government approaches project funding.  Also in the news is a major project failure and an update on the energy situation.

Infrastructure Projects

Our illustrious leaders have set out their spending plans for the next 10 years.  The optimistic amongst us feel this is good because it indicates sound planning and allows proper feasibility studies to begin while indicating priorities for the National Portfolio of infrastructure projects.  The pessimistic may feel that there is little new money and many old proposals have simply had a price placed upon them.

A new prison at £100 million might save £20 million a year in efficiency savings and an additional £250 million has been set aside to improve the nation’s high speed broadband.  These seem minor in comparison to the costs for High Speed 2 rail project which has £42.6 billion earmarked.  Our pessimists claim this is a cost escalation of about £10 billion while project savvy observers claim proper contingency has been applied.  Additional funding has been agreed to cover the cost of additional tunneling and environmental mitigation.  This total includes about £8 billion for new rolling stock.

While UK is preparing to invest significant sums to expand its high speed network, France, the pioneers of trains à grand vitesse (TGV) have announced that investment in new lines is being cut.  President Hollande announced last month that the planned €245 Billion investment in transport infrastructure is to be cut to a maximum of €30 million.  This immediately cuts out the 28 new lines planned for development over the next 10 years.  French funding for TGV includes ongoing local government subsidy but ministers claim the high speed network is building up large debts, said to be about €32 billion and rising to more than €61 by 2025.  Makes one wonder what they know that UK doesn’t.


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About the Author

flag-ukmiles shepherdMILES 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 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 the Chair of the ISO committees that are developing new ISO 21500 Guidelines 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].