Press Release

Gateway Review Process Could Save Millions, Says Committee

Session: 2009/2010

Date: Thursday, 22 April 2010

Reference: PAC 11/09/10

Application of the Gateway review process could have saved millions. That’s one of the key findings from the Northern Ireland Assembly Public Accounts Committee which today published its Review of the Gateway Process, a system designed to help ensure that any large capital and IT project delivers value for money.

The report, which looked specifically at Department for Regional Development (DRD) projects and their management systems, concluded that up to £10 million could have been saved if the Gateway process had been fully rolled out.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Paul Maskey MLA, Chairperson of the Committee said: “The Gateway process uses a small team of independent and experienced practitioners to scrutinise large projects. The worth of this approach has been demonstrated by the Government’s Central Procurement Directorate (CPD) which has claimed savings of £25 million since its introduction.

“However, w hen projects are not reviewed there is a potential for loss. It is estimated that DRD would have saved some £10 million if it had applied Gateway fully. In the current economic climate, it is disappointing that this opportunity to make significant savings has been missed.”

One of the most serious findings in the report is that, despite earlier project management failures which were investigated by the Committee, DRD appeared not to have learned the appropriate lessons.

Paul Maskey said: “One of the most disappointing findings was that DRD spent some £2 billion on capital projects, none of which were subject to Gateway review.

“At the same time, the Committee is pleased that the Department of Finance and Personnel has recently issued guidance which makes Gateway review mandatory for large projects which have a capital value of above £20 million. However, the Committee believes that even relatively low value projects can go badly wrong and would greatly benefit from utilising this robust and independent assessment process.

“ Moving forward, where schemes or projects of strategic importance encounter problems and they have not been subject to Gateway Review, we will be calling on Departments to account for their decisions. ”


Notes to Editors:
  • The Gateway Review process aims to improve the delivery and value for money of large construction and IT projects. Carried out by a small team of experienced practitioners who are independent of the project, the process is intended to challenge the robustness of plans and processes and to ensure that projects can progress successfully to the next stage.
  • The Committee investigated failures into DRD’s Belfast to Bangor Railway Project, and were given assurances that similar failures would not be repeated because all major projects would be subject to Gateway review.
  • Standing Orders under Section 60(3) of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 have provided for the establishment of the Public Accounts Committee (the Committee). The statutory function of the Committee is to consider accounts and reports on accounts laid before the Northern Ireland Assembly.

These are laid by the Comptroller and Auditor General for Northern Ireland (C&AG), who is head of the Northern Ireland Audit Office (NIAO). The C&AG is empowered to investigate any area of expenditure and has a statutory right of access to all files and papers in Departments and public bodies.

The PAC Committee members are:-


Mr Trevor Lunn

Democratic Unionist Party

Mr Jim Shannon 6
Mr Jonathan Craig
Mr David Hilditch 7,10
Rt Hon Jeffrey Donaldson 3,4,5,9

Sinn Fein

Mr Paul Maskey (Chairperson) 2
Mr Mitchel McLaughlin

Social Democratic and Labour Party

Mr John Dallat
Mr Patsy McGlone 1,8

Ulster Unionist Party

Mr Roy Beggs (Deputy Chairperson)

Progressive Unionist Party

Ms Dawn Purvis

1 With effect from 04 March 2008 Mr Thomas Burns replaced Mr Patsy McGlone.
2 With effect from 20 May 2008 Mr Paul Maskey replaced Mr John O'Dowd.
3 With effect from 1 October 2007 Mr Mickey Brady replaced Mr Willie Clarke.
4 With effect from 21 January 2008 Mr Ian McCrea replaced Mr Mickey Brady.
5 With effect from Tuesday 27 May 08 Mr Jim Wells replaced Mr Ian McCrea.
6 With effect from Monday, 15 September 08 Mr Jim Shannon replaced Mr David Hilditch.
7 With effect from Monday, 15 September 08 Mr George Robinson replaced Mr Simon Hamilton.
8 With effect from 29 June 2009, Mr Patsy McGlone replaced Mr Thomas Burns.
9 with effect from 18 September 2009 Rt Hon Jeffrey Donaldson replaced Mr Jim Wells.
10 with effect from 18 September 2009 Mr David Hilditch replaced Mr George Robinson.

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