Capital Projects Board Could Be Over Before it Began

The Major Projects Unit, a cornerstone piece of the 2021 Budget, may no longer be needed, the Chief Minister has said.

Alf Cannan was asked for an update on the progress of the board by MLC Tanya August-Hanson.

In February, the then Treasury Minister Mr Cannan said that CoMin had decided that a new Major Capital Projects Board and Unit will be created within the Cabinet Office.

He told Tynwald: ‘This function will take responsibility for the oversight and delivery of all major capital projects with expenditure of £3 million or more and will be in place early in the new financial year. In addition, responsibility for the remaining capital investment projects and property maintenance will be centralised within the Department of Infrastructure.’

In large this was seen as a recognition that the DoI has a long history of failing to deliver big projects on time or in budget.

However, Mr Cannan now appears to have had a change of heart.

In response to Ms August-Hanson’s question, he said: ‘In my manifesto I was clear that there is a strong argument to reform the Department of Infrastructure into smaller more accountable bodies in order to restore confidence, along with the need to review the method of managing key infrastructure projects.

‘The recent Beamans review of capacity and capability of the Department of Infrastructure made comments on the proposal to move larger capital projects out of DoI to be managed by Cabinet Office. The review noted that fully functioning departmental project delivery teams operating under the stewardship of a Portfolio Director (who will be accountable to SACIC via the departmental Board), as proposed by the review, may negate the need to establish a separately managed and coordinated Major Projects Unit.

‘Work is underway to determine the best approach to take and I have asked for an updated proposal for how to structure the oversight of major infrastructure projects so that we can all have confidence that they are being managed properly.’

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