Association for Project Management
APM responds to Autumn Statement 2023
Andrew Baldwin, Head of Policy and Public Affairs at APM responded to the Chancellor Jeremy Hunt’s Autumn Statement this week
“There are reasons to be optimistic about some of the measures announced. We welcome the Chancellor’s nod to stability through plans to support investment, boost skills and improve efficiency in many of the key areas where projects take place, such as technology, house-building and advanced manufacturing.”
On the Chancellor’s announcement about planning reforms and infrastructure projects:
“Importantly, ensuring successful delivery needs to remain a focus in light of planning reforms announced by the Chancellor. We acknowledge that bureaucracy around infrastructure projects can be a source of frustration for those tasked with delivering these projects. Whilst measures announced in the Autumn Statement to speed up this process have the potential to quicken project delivery, it is important to remember that projects must be delivered with a sustainable and sustained approach in mind.
“While speed of completion is always a consideration, this must not be at the expense of successful delivery. Infrastructure projects must not become ‘hurried’, as this could jeopardise its ability to deliver intended benefits over the long-term.
“Meanwhile, the focus on delivering so many new projects is a positive step although the proximity to an Election may impact on the ability to deliver all of them in such a short period. It must be remembered however that delivering project success means investing in people.
“It is concerning to hear the Government is focused on reducing the civil service at a time when its own centre for project expertise – the Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) – is supporting more government projects than ever before.
“We believe the IPA should be given more resource, not less. We therefore call on the Government to ensure the IPA has the resources it requires to deliver projects successfully, so that projects succeed for the benefit of society.”
On the announcements about investing in the skills gap, particularly in the engineering sector:
“Investment in skills elsewhere must also be prioritised. Our research shows that the skills gap is a major concern for people delivering projects in the engineering sector – where 15% of project professionals say the skills gap is getting worse – and in the manufacturing sector, where that figure rises to 34%. Apprenticeship programmes will be vital to help boost the skills gap in these sectors. The announcement of £50million of funding over the next two years to pilot ways to increase the number of apprentices in engineering and other key growth sectors is welcome. We hope this will contribute to increased uptake of project management apprenticeships in particular."
On AI and future growth:
“The Chancellor is also correct to acknowledge the importance of AI in his autumn statement. The project profession has been an early adopter of AI and machine learning, and many of APM’s Corporate Partners are either applying AI already, or preparing to do so. Furthermore, our research has found that AI has the potential to increase project success and mitigate failure. Given the importance of projects in this Budget and the Government’s wider economic plan, we invite the Government to consult with APM and our Corporate Partners on how to make the best use of the announced £500 million of funding for innovation centres.”
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