Is the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, the UK Driver of Post COVID-19 Economic Stimulus? 2

Is the Infrastructure and Projects Authority, the UK Driver of Post COVID-19 Economic Stimulus?

16 June 2020

We have got used to watching the graphs of how events have unfolded since March in the UK. A devastating time for all, notably so for the terrible loss of life and the change to the economic structure of the UK. The latter resulting in uncertainty for jobs and business. Business in the UK waited and drew breath whilst it did all it could to diversify, to hibernate until the all clear was given to begin to open its doors. To start the period of rejuvenation that matches current times and helps build a stronger Britain.

At the heart of government, sits the Infrastructure and Projects Authority reporting directly to the Cabinet Office and the Treasury. The IPA leads project delivery and balances the books across government. Making sure that things and stuff get built and procured on time and on budget.

Nick Smallwood Chief Executive of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority

Nick Smallwood Chief Executive of the Infrastructure and Projects Authority

The IPA is headed up by Nick Smallwood as Chief Executive Officer. A former Vice President for Projects Engineering at Shell, he has 37 years’ experience of managing complex project portfolios having developed Shell’s Global Project Academy. This included accountability for how projects were delivered and managing how projects were delivered (source You could say if you want to flip the switch on a massive project then Nick Smallwood is the calibre of the person you would like to be at the helm of the department in charge of delivering. Especially if the projects are significant, varied and contribute to the future of a country.

That is what just happened. The Infrastructure and Projects Authority have been given the green light on 260 infrastructure programmes, worth up to £35 billion in terms of procurement over the next year.

This includes:

Continuing with the UK’s ambitious infrastructure plans in all parts of the country, which has been identified as vital to the recovery of the construction sector and the economy as a whole.

The National Infrastructure and Construction Pipeline – providing long term visibility of where economic and social infrastructure is being planned and who is building it. Again, this is aimed to help the country recover from COVID-19 and provide additional industrial economic stimulus.

The pipeline spans infrastructure and construction such as:

  • Construction Work, including building, design & build and civil engineering contracts;
  • Repair and Maintenance Services
  • Architectural, Construction, Engineering and Inspection Services; and
  • Consultancy Services

What Projects are in the pipeline in the next 12 months (for procurement)

Northern Powerhouse

Midlands Engine

East of England

South West

South East and London

The other provinces are devolved and have a certain amount of autonomy from Westminster and subsequently the Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

In closing, it is refreshing to see construction projects that support the country. Whether that is wider roads for making it easier to move good about. Supporting HS2 (covered by a separate budget) or instigation of new technologies such as the National Fusion Technology Platform for research, it is clear there is a clear mandate to stimulate the economy. Jobs will be created, vital stimulus will be given to civils and construction companies, schools will be built, water will be piped, national monuments will be preserved, bypassed and nuclear submarines will be decommissioned.

This is a pipeline that has a 2020/21 date range published in June 2020, nothing new here, this is stuff that was mandated pre COVID-19 and needs to be completed – the Infrastructure and Projects Authority has the job to do this and this has to be good news for construction and contractors alike.

Read the Analysis of the National Infrastructure and Construction Procurement Pipeline 2020/21 Document