September 2023 UK Project Management Round Up


Awards for Government Projects, Institutional Awards,

Project Management Awards, Sporting Awards,

Award Potential and the Loch Less Monster



By Miles Shepherd

Executive Advisor & International Correspondent

Salisbury, England, UK


This is the height of what is optimistically called the Silly Season – where politician slope off on their ill-deserved holidays, leaving the rest of us to take our last public holiday before Christmas.  This week we have our Bank Holiday, so called because the Banks a closed and traditionally it marks the end of the Summer so everyone hopes for a warm, sunny long weekend before we get into the more dreary days of Autumn.  Alas, there has been precious little sun but we should just be grateful we have not had the life-threatening weather our Continental chums have endured.

So, what is there to talk about if the politicos are off somewhere exotic?  Well, the theme this month is AWARDS.  Yes, we need to talk about successes in the Project World and where better to start than the built environment.  There are other awards to celebrate, too, so we can take a peek at some institutional awards as well as some less obvious ones.


Crowded out last month, this is a late take on the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPSA) report on the Government Major Projects Portfolio (GMPP).  This is an interesting and quite brave piece of work as it is a warts and all report in the public domain.  For those who want to read the full report, you will find it here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/infrastructure-and-projects-authority-annual-report-2022-23.  The 82-page report (and 180 pages of supporting reports on individual projects) is available in PDF, Word and Open Document (ODT) formats and is a 10 Mb download.  The supporting data is available in either CSV or Excel format so there is no excuse for missing an interesting read.  And we will be asking questions later!

As you would expect, the portfolio is not small – this year it consists of 244 major projects, up on last year’s 235 across 22 departments.  Among the most important examples are the Department for Transport’s (DfT) Lower Thames Crossing, which we reported on last year, and the Thames Tideway, which is the biggest investment in London’s sewage system since Bazalgette – who established the system in the mid-19th century – built the Embankment.

Considering what it has to cover, the report is a good read and does not seem to hide the bad news in the 60 pages of narrative reporting, but the remaining 180 pages of detailed project report are a pretty tedious read.  There are some pretty whizzy graphics, too, and I reproduce a couple later.

The Fourth Estate (Press in normal speak) focused on the level of confidence Ministers have in the successful delivery of their projects.  Actually, they don’t have confidence, their Civil Servants who are briefed by the National Audit Office, do.  This is expressed as DCA (Delivery Confidence Assessment).  The report states that this is an assessment of the likelihood of a project delivering its objectives to time and cost. Unsurprisingly, briefers use a RAG system.  The end of financial year snapshot for 2023 showed 25 projects rated green (10% of the GMPP) and 23 projects were assigned red (9%) and the other 183 projects (75%) were rated amber.

Perhaps more interesting than the current headline numbers are the change in performance illustrated below.

Graphic: IPA Report

The report notes that in the first eight years there was a decrease in projects’ health, where the average project rating worsened from amber/green on the 2013 Annual Report to amber on the 2020 Annual Report. Since then, projects’ health is getting better, and the average project rating has improved over the past three years.


To read entire report, click here

How to cite this work: Shepherd, M. (2023). UK Project Management Round Up, report, PM World Journal, Vol. XII, Issue IX, September. Available online at https://pmworldlibrary.net/wp-content/uploads/2023/08/pmwj133-Sep2023-Shepherd-UK-project-management-round-up-regional-report.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.  His consulting work has taken him to Japan, Taiwan, USA and Russia.  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 was, for seven years, 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 is currently Chairman of the British Standards Institute project management committee.  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/.