Gateway Review Process Could Save Millions, Says Committee

Session: 2009/2010

Date: 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. ”

ENDS

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