Infrastructure UK is to merge with the Major Projects Authority, it has been revealed.
Infrastructure projects are to be put under Cabinet Office control as a result of the government’s decision to merge Infrastructure UK with the Major Projects Authority.
The two government bodies will become the Infrastructure and Projects Authority. This means that schemes such as Crossrail and the Thames Tideway Tunnel will be overseen by the same organisation that looks after changes to unemployment benefit.
The new organisation will be led by Major Projects Authority chief executive Tony Meggs. It will come into being on 1 January, reporting jointly to the Treasury and the Cabinet Office. NCE understands it will sit within the latter for budgeting purposes.
Infrastructure UK chief executive Geoffrey Spence is to step down and take up a job in the City.
One source described the mood within Infrastructure UK as “flat”. It said the new body was likely to have less influence and that Infrastructure UK had worked hard to establish a respected name.
Association for Consultancy & Engineering chief executive Nelson Ogunshakin urged the government to work closely with the infrastructure sector to minimise uncertainty after the merger was announced.
“Infrastructure projects take years to develop and deliver, with any possibility that they might change, causing companies that might be involved to be very reluctant to invest,” he said.
“Only close collaboration and assurances that this merger does not mark a wholesale shift in government policy during the transition period will calm the market. We hope the government and the new authority led by Tony Meggs will heed this warning.”
Ogunshakin said Spence would be missed. “Geoffrey has been an excellent champion for infrastructure within government and his voice will be greatly missed, particularly at a time when the UK stands on the cusp of a new age of project delivery,” he said.
The merger comes weeks after the independent National Infrastructure Commission was created. It is to be chaired by former Labour transport secretary Lord Adonis.
Chancellor George Osborne said: “By bringing together Infrastructure UK with the Major Projects Authority, and creating the new National Infrastructure Commission, we are moving to the next stage in our plan to ensure Britain’s economy gets the transformational projects it needs.
“I’d like to thank Geoffrey Spence for the brilliant job he has done leading Infrastructure UK since July 2011. Under his leadership, IUK became a more effective organisation, successfully developing and implementing the UK’s National Infrastructure Plan, the UK Guarantee Scheme for infrastructure and a new model for private sector delivery of public service, PF2.”
Cabinet Office minister Matt Hancock added: “The new Infrastructure and Projects Authority is a further step forward in delivering what Britain needs to prosper in the 21st century.
“By combining projects expertise with funding authority we will improve the government’s ability to deliver, and the economic security that comes with it. Tony Meggs has been a hugely respected chief executive of the Major Projects Authority and has the leadership and capability to make the [new body] a great success. “
Infrastructure UK was established in 2010 to support major infrastructure projects involving public sector capital. It leads on private finance policy and negotiates infrastructure guarantees. It currently sits within the Treasury and has a staff of about 70.
The Major Projects Authority was established in 2011 with a mandate to oversee and assure the largest government projects. It provides assurance of and support to the 200 projects comprising the
Government Major Projects Portfolio. Housed in the Cabinet Office, it has a permanent staff of about 80.
It is understood that the merged organisation will shed some of its 150 staff but this is expected to be managed by natural wastage, rather than redundancies.
It currently sits within the Treasury and has a staff of about 70.
The Major Projects Authority was established in 2011 with a mandate to oversee and assure the largest government projects. It provides assurance of and support to the 200 projects comprising the Government Major Projects Portfolio. Housed in the Cabinet Office, it has a permanent staff of about 80.