The 'Do' phase is where approved projects or programmes are implemented.
Once investments are approved and funded, agencies move into implementing them. This is the 'Do' phase.
Agencies are expected to adopt and apply appropriate project or programme management and governance practices to ensure that investments deliver as intended, enabling benefits to be achieved. This includes appropriate assurance and monitoring.
As set out in Cabinet Office Circular CO(19)6: Investment management and asset performance in the state services
- The Treasury will 'determine the appropriate level of centrally-required assurance activity (eg investment reviews such as Gateway reviews) and investment performance support'
- All investment proposals that are determined high risk by the Risk Profile Assessment (RPA) will have an appropriate level of assurance applied, including Gateway reviews.
- Ministers may also request that a project or programme be subject to appropriate assurance oversight by the Treasury or functional leader, or relevant monitoring department.
Top challenges to investments
The Treasury analyses the recommendations arising from Gateway reviews. The top eight challenges to investments are:
- RAID (Risks, Issues, Assumptions and Dependencies)
- Business case
- Transition into service
- Sourcing strategy and management
- Programme and project management
- Stakeholder engagement
For more information, see: Gateway lessons learned.
Agencies are expected to monitor their investments appropriately
Agencies are expected to apply appropriate governance, assurance and monitoring to their investments. The Office of the Auditor General considers that a 'three lines of defence' model should be applied to an agency’s governance framework as it is a useful, clear and effective way to strengthen communication on risk management, assurance, and control.
Appropriate assurance includes:
- the project or programme's practices and controls
- the agency's internal assurance function, typically provided by Portfolio Management Offices or Risk and Assurance teams
- the agency's use of external independent assurance providers.
The Centre gives additional assurance where appropriate
The Centre systematically identifies and provides additional support to agencies for those investments assessed as high value/risk through the Risk Profile Assessment. High risk projects have additional assurance through:
- Gateway reviews
- Targeted Investment Reviews
- Operational and Benefits Reviews
- Formal expectation that if the project is forecast to exceed Cabinet-approved time, cost, scope or benefits, that the agency will report to the Responsible Minister and that the Treasury will be immediately notified
- Targeted and tailored support.
Gateway and Investment reviews are also available on request for significant investments.
The Centre’s support to agencies
The Centre provides targeted and tailored help to agencies to navigate the system and position investments for success. This approach spans all parts of an investment lifecycle.
Using collated data and evidence and in consultation with functional leads, the Treasury works with investment intensive agencies to develop a view of their key investment priorities and challenges, and where the Centre can add most value within its available resources. Support can be targeted at an agency level (eg, its Investor Confidence Rating (ICR) improvement journey) and at an individual investment level (eg, advice on scoping an investment and development of a business case).
ICT-Enabled Projects and Programmes
The Government Chief Digital Officer (GCDO), as part of the ICT functional leadership role, has responsibility to Ministers for the coordinated oversight and delivery of system-wide ICT assurance. For further information, refer to the guidance and templates below.
The Treasury produces an annual report on the performance of the investment management system. Data collected through the Government Investment Portfolio data collection process supports this report. Agencies are expected to report accurately on the health of their investments throughout the lifecycle and during benefit realisation.
In addition the Treasury provides information and advice to Ministers on the status of projects and programmes as required. The Government is interested in reviewing the performance of investments against expectations over the project or programme lifecycle. This doesn't stop when a project ends, as the realisation of benefits and application of lessons learned are very important parts of the investment management system. For more information, see the Review phase.