Government project updates given green light

26 February 2013

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26 February 2013 | Anna Reynolds

Whitehall departments will have to report on how major projects are progressing from May.

Departments will have to reveal whether projects have been rated red, amber or green by the Major Projects Authority (MPA), the body that oversees high-risk government projects. This information will then be published by the Treasury every 12 months, six months in arrears.

The move is in response to worries from MPs that warnings on projects were not taken seriously.

A green rating indicates a project is running well and on time, amber means problems in need of attention and red highlights a significant risk of failure, delay or overspend. As well as publishing the ratings, departments will have to provide the reasons given by the MPA for each rating and the actions the department has taken to address the ratings.

Founded in 2011, the MPA – a partnership between the Cabinet Office and the Treasury – oversees high-risk government projects costing £50 million or more and is responsible for over 150 projects throughout Whitehall.

Last October, the Committee of Public Accounts (PAC) raised concerns departments were ignoring warnings raised by the MPA. At the time, PAC chairwoman and Labour MP Margaret Hodge said the government had not met its commitment to transparency by publishing details on the status of major projects.

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