SIR - Peter Bradshaw is right to complain about overspending in respect of North Devon District Council s Brynsworthy project (Yours Sincerely, last week) but his anger should be directed to Westminster. As in much of the USA and Australia, value manageme
SIR - Peter Bradshaw is right to complain about overspending in respect of North Devon District Council's Brynsworthy project (Yours Sincerely, last week) but his anger should be directed to Westminster.
As in much of the USA and Australia, value management should be mandatory for a public sector project of that size. A recent book on value and risk management said this in respect of the Eden Project:
"...It is probably the most successful of all the millennium projects in the United Kingdom. It used value and risk management to great effect in overcoming seemingly impossible obstacles in fund raising, design and construction, to open ahead of schedule, within budget and exceeding expectations."
The Office of Government Commerce has done useful work in promoting value management for public sector capital projects, but this is relatively recent.
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Ten years ago a local government officer told me that his authority had "no incentive" to save the �3 to �4 million a year that an effective value programme would have saved on capital projects.
Only Government pressure can overcome that sort of mindset. I do not know the details of the Brynsworthy project, but perhaps someone might write in and say whether value management was used in accordance with official guidelines and if so what went wrong.
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In respect of services it has been estimated that we pay �80 to �100 billion a year over the top for what we get from the public sector due to poor productivity.
Value management, or 'systems thinking' or 'lean' (let each service choose which), should be mandatory for all public services.
This cannot happen overnight but whoever wins the next general election should make a start. They could then dismantle the wasteful box-ticking bureaucracy that is supposed to deliver value for money and so empower staff to work smarter.
Institute of Value Management
1-3 Birdcage Walk
London SW1 H 9JJ