The BBC Trust / National Audit Office Summary Report on the BBC’s management of three major estates projects: the refurbishment and redevelopment of Broadcasting House in London; the construction of Pacific Quay in Glasgow and the Corporation’s move to Salford Quays.
The Report found that the BBC has learned lessons from phase one of Broadcasting House, which suffered from significant cost and time overruns. The report acknowledged that the BBC has since improved the management of the three projects examined, which have a total budget of £2 billion, although there is room for further improvement. The report concluded that the BBC did not set out a clear assessment of the intended benefits for the projects at the outset, meaning it is not well placed to demonstrate value for money.
Alongside its acknowledgement of the progress in improving project management processes made by the BBC to date, the NAO made a number of recommendations to bring the BBC’s processes into line with good practice. These include: business cases should at a minimum contain a detailed assessment of costs, delivery timetable, measurable expected benefits and a quantified assessment of the risks and opportunities before the BBC Trust approves investment; the Executive should assess the skills needed for each project from the outset and match this against the skills available in the organisation to identify gaps; and financial contingency should be calculated on the basis of an assessment of the cost and probability of known risks. This contingency should be released only when it is needed to deliver the approved scope of the project.
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