August 2019 UK Project Management Round Up


Prime Ministerial Impact, BREXIT, APM News, IPMA Research Awards, A Conflict Over Project Success and Buckingham Palace needs a Project Manager



By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK




Well, it’s all happening here in UK.  We have a new Prime Minister, APM has a new President, England won the World Cup Cricket and we are at the start of the Ashes (for non-cricketing readers – this is the series of international 5 day matches between England and Australia).  To cap it all, we have basked in scorching hot sunshine in some parts of the country but shivered and soaked under violent thunderstorms in other parts.

I don’t think I can fairly categorise news in the Project World as good, bad or indifferent so I will leave you to sort out your own views on the impact of a new Prime Minister (not PM as the press have it, we reserve that abbreviation for Project Managers) on the Project world, what is going on in BREXIT, developments at the Association for Project Management (APM) and the International Project Management Association.


We now have Boris Johnson as Prime Minister.  He is a divisive figure as followers of the national press will know all too well but he is also prime mover in the BREXIT movement and so we can expect considerable action on that front, as explained in the next section.  However, Mr Johnson made interventions in June on the future of High Speed 2 (HS2), hinting his opposition to the latest cost challenges.  However, He appears to have rowed back from a critical position by asking the Chairman of HS2 to review the business case.  Liz Truss, Chief Secretary to the Treasury, had earlier threatened to kill off so called “white elephant” projects, including HS2, as Ministers have been told to use this Summer’s Spending Review to decide which Whitehall departments will get more cash and which will be asked to tighten their belts.  Truss moved to International Trade Secretary in the BoJo Cabinet Reshuffle so can still keep an eye on some major projects, but latest reports claim that the Prime Minister said he was not currently intending to scrap any major infrastructure projects despite estimates suggesting the HS2 high speed rail line will cost more than £100bn,  Of course, this position is subject to expediency corrections – the latest You Gov poll  has found a distinct lack of support for HS2 in the Midlands – the one region expected to benefit most.


Now we have a strongly pro-BREXIT Prime Minister, we also have a new administration with similar views.  Several Departments have issued new spending priorities.  The Prime Minister is said by many to be turbo charging preparations to leave on 29 October and instructed cabinet ministers to mount a publicity blitz along the lines that UK is planning to leave with no EU deal.  In essence, he is saying that neither UK nor the EU want a no-deal exit but without some shift in the EU position, especially on the Irish border issue, UK will be forced to leave with no deal.  This pushes the “blame” back to M Barnier, the chief EU negotiator.

The situation is complicated by confusion over the rights of EU citizens to remain in UK post BREXIT.  Successive regimes in UK have stated that EU citizens of “settled status” will be welcome to remain and the new Prime Minister said the rights of EU citizens would be “guaranteed in law” as early as possible.  He also pledged a massive overhaul of the UK’s migration system following the end of free movement.  Both will take primary legislation and that will take time.

Outbound delays at Dover – supply chain problems to come.   Photo – Rohan Josh

It is quite clear that there will be considerable disruption to the supply of imported goods post Brexit.  Some of these shortages will affect projects, probably construction as steel and concrete need to come from overseas.  Other project will have problems recruiting specialist staff and will be unable to recruit overseas.  Some of these problems offer opportunities for firms as they seek other suppliers and also significant opportunities for the project profession as demand will likely rise against a static supply of trained staff and even fewer experienced practitioners will be available.  An interesting situation, I think!


To read entire report, click here


How to cite this report: Shepherd, M. (2019).  August 2019 UK Project Management Roundup, PM World Journal, Vol. VIII, Issue VII, August.  Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/pmwj84-Aug2019-Shepherd-UK-Project-Management-RoundUp.pdf



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 miles.shepherd@msp-ltd.co.uk.

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