Delivering Restoration and Renewal Contents

Conclusions and recommendations

List of conclusions and recommendations

1.This Committee is appointed by the House to be the guardians of efficiency, effectiveness and economy in the use of public money. It is crystal clear to us that further delay and indecision will inevitably result in costs to the public purse whichever option is finally settled on. It is also clear to us that the option of a full decant is the most economic choice. A full decant is the most efficient choice, allowing the work to be concluded in the shortest time with the minimum disruption to the work of both houses. It is the most effective choice, allowing not only the restoration of the Palace as a safe, sustainable and efficient building, but also permitting the most economical route to a building housing a modern, open and accessible legislature. (Paragraph 17)

2.Without hesitation we recommend that the House swiftly proceeds to a decision-in-principle and that the decision is to pursue a full decant from the Palace whilst it is restored, renewed and made ready for at least another 150 years as the home of Parliament. (Paragraph 18)

3.We recommend the two-tier delivery authority approach. The Restoration and Renewal programme can build on the examples of Crossrail and the 2012 Olympics: both Government major projects delivered by a two-tier delivery model. (Paragraph 19)

4.We consider that a successful sponsor body should have a clearly-defined relationship with the delivery authority, as it will be based on a high level of trust. We heard from Crossrail that it was useful for a sponsor body to have a project representative with complete access to the delivery authority’s information to provide embedded assurance. Based on the Crossrail model, that representative would have an absolute working knowledge of where the risks are and how they are being managed. We consider that this embedded assurance would enable the Parliamentary sponsor body to hold the delivery organisation to account during the programme. (Paragraph 20)

5.We fully support the conclusions of the Joint Committee that the feasibility of a full decant must be demonstrated clearly, and beyond reasonable doubt, with a comprehensive risk analysis before a final decision is made. We are clear that we need to watch the costs and spending very closely. (Paragraph 23)

6.The Cabinet Office reports that five out of eight common causes of failure in major projects like this come down to weak governance. It is essential that throughout the programme its delivery is subject to independent assurance and evaluation at appropriate stages. The Accounting Officer told us that the sponsor body and the delivery authority would be responsible for ensuring audit and external assurance within the programme, alongside the creation of an audit committee. (Paragraph 24)

7.It is important that the National Audit Office is also empowered to audit the delivery authority and carry out value for money studies. (Paragraph 24)

8.It is vital that both the sponsor body and the delivery authority engage in effective public engagement, underpinned by a good communications plan with a strong narrative. We would stress to the project team that a strong communications plan is vital as the programme progresses, to actively communicate the benefits of the project to all stakeholders, including MPs, Peers, staff and the wider public. It is, at its heart, a project that belongs to all of us in this country, not just to Parliament. (Paragraph 28)

8 March 2017