MOD's Major Projects Review Board stands up

Posted: 06/13/2011
UK Ministry of Defence [MoD]
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13 Jun 11
The Ministry of Defence's Major Projects Review Board, designed to scrutinise and hold to account some of the Department's most expensive projects, has met for the first time today, 13 June 2011.
Dr Liam Fox
Dr Liam Fox speaks at Govan shipyard on the Clyde (stock image) [Picture: Andrew Linnett, Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]
The Major Projects Review Board (MPRB) was established by the Defence Secretary, Dr Liam Fox, to deliver tighter financial controls across the Department.
Any project that the Board decides is failing will be publicly 'named and shamed'. This could include a project that is running over budget or behind expected timelines. This will allow the public and the market to judge how well the MOD and industry are doing in supporting the Armed Forces and offering taxpayers value for money.
Dr Fox said:
"I want to send a clear message across Defence: reckless spending stops here. Too often there has been too much reliance on industry's self-reporting of time delays and capability deficits, rather than a transparent process to track performance.
"I am tired of the National Audit Office reporting on projects that are running over time and over budget.
Where projects are falling behind schedule or budget I will take immediate measures. I want shareholders to see where projects are underperforming so that the market can take action. Those responsible for poor project management must be brought to account."
The MPRB will examine the top 50 equipment projects managed by the Department with a total value of more than £100bn.
The projects that the Board will review each quarter will be identified through the MOD's improved reporting and review processes. Relevant programme managers will be called before the Board and asked to account for the performance of their project and identify problems to be resolved. After appearing at the Board those projects that are still underperforming by the next quarter will be published on the quarterly 'Projects of Concern' list.
Projects will be taken off the Projects of Concern list if they have shown improvement.
Among the projects considered today were: Watchkeeper - an unmanned air vehicle surveillance system with a main contract value of £635m; Falcon - a communications system with a main contract value of £315m; and the Valiant Jetty Project (SSN Berthing), which will serve the new Astute Class submarine at the naval base in Clyde, with a main contract value of £134m.
The Defence Secretary announced plans for the MPRB, which he chairs, earlier this year. Other permanent members include: Peter Luff, Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology; Bernard Gray, Chief of Defence Materiel; and Vice Admiral Paul Lambert, Deputy Chief of Defence Staff (Capability).