Appendix to Sub-Appendix B
Programme management arrangements
1. All stages of policy should be developed
under project/programme management disciplines. These disciplines
should be introduced from the start of policy developments to
ensure consistency and the earliest possible introduction of rigorous
control and review mechanisms. This would help to identify key
information needs as early as possible and to plan available time
to most effectively help inform and support delivery.
2. Senior staff responsible for programmes/projects
should have sufficient time built into their roles to give appropriate
consideration to the key policy issues and options that arise
and the decisions that need to be made.
3. A flexible approach to resourcing programmes
is necessary. The ability to move additional staff to "hot-spots"
is essential. It is vital to ensure that staff with appropriate
skills are in place, particularly in key areas supporting delivery,
such as programme and risk management, contract management and
financial control. Where external expertise is needed, the role
they are required to fulfil should be clearly defined.
4. Business processes should be modelled and
examined for strengths and weaknesses before the design is finalised.
This will provide more reliable information on which to assess
risks, evidence to base decisions on and determine the management
information MI needed to monitor performance, costs and risks.
The business model should include a financial model to help determine
the cost implications of policy options and support monitoring
Risk identification and management procedures
5. Early identification of risks is essential
to determine the level of acceptability of these risks to management
(i.e. the "risk appetite"). Countermeasures commensurate
with the risks should be identified, designed, and implemented.
Active risk management should be in place to monitor the likelihood
of key risks occurring and to take action to minimise their impact.
Named teams/individuals should have responsibility for the ongoing
management of each risk. Active issues management should continue
after the implementation as an important part of performance management.
6. All policy developments should take proper
account of propriety and value for money issues and consider the
risk and implications of fraudulent and improper activity. Attempts
should be made to "break the system" to determine its
robustness and reliability before it goes live.
7. Ministers should be provided with clear information
on the risks arising from policy options. High-risk projects/programmes
should provide regular progress reports to the Audit Committee
or the Board, as appropriate. If it becomes evident that the risks
of proceeding with a policy could place the Accounting Officer
(AO) at risk, then he must be advised immediately to enable direct
intervention with Ministers, if necessary.
Contracting and contract management arrangements
8. Clarity on the relationship with the contractor
is essential, including whether the relationship is simply sub-contracting
part of the management or delivery arrangements, or whether a
full partnership is required. The risks to be transferred to or
shared with our contractors/partners should be carefully considered
and specified in the contract. In particular, there is a need
for absolute clarity in our data security requirements and a clear
and documented understanding of who bears the risks should security
be breached. There may also be a need to include provision in
contracts for rigorous testing of security arrangements.
9. Contract specification and bidding processes
must rigorously test the capability of all bidders to meet
our full operational, quality and delivery requirements. Contract
management arrangements must build on this to test contractor
performance in all key delivery areas, and their ability and commitment
to meet changing policy and delivery needs, should these arise.
Management information (MI) specification &
performance monitoring arrangements
10. Specification of management information
(including financial and budgetary data) and reporting requirements
for senior managers and Ministers should be set out clearly at
the earliest possible stage in developments. This should be based
on a clear picture of the environment that the policy is intended
to influence and change. It is therefore important to establish
reliable and relevant baseline information on the state of the
environment before introducing the programme.
Financial monitoring arrangements & budgetary
11. Demand led schemes that have a pre-determined
budget limit require careful management to ensure available funds
are not exceeded. Options to manage demand must be assessed
and robust management information systems developed in advance
of going live. Financial monitoring arrangements should include
early warning systems to highlight unexpected activity/spend and
allow time to implement counter measures to maintain expenditure
within acceptable limits.
12. A clear vision statement for each policy/programme
should be agreed with Ministers before the completion of policy
design. A lack of clarity can affect partners' business planning
and customers' expectations.
13. What the individual client or sector should
expect as a result of the policy being developed should be defined.
In the case of ILAs, this might include the level of competence
expected of providers, the level of support providers should make
available to learners, reasonable pricing.
14. From day one of implementation, there should
be clear guidance to all relevant stakeholders on how to use,
support, and access the system developed. This should include
clear instructions on the criteria and method for making financial
claims against the programme. Client satisfaction measures, and
systems for analysing client complaints, as early as possible
after implementation would help to provide early warnings of problems.