Assuring a strategic public sector data programme

Delivering change across the public sector has never been more important or difficult. It is characterised by increased urgency, rapid adoption of digital technologies, agile methods and legacy, and data systems that are no longer fit for purpose. The role of assurance is critical in safeguarding this delivery to ensure public money is protected and well-spent.  


Project One was commissioned by a Government industry regulation to undertake an independent assurance review of its strategic data programme and make recommendations to ensure that the intended benefits and outcomes would be achieved. 


The Government industry regulator’s Big Data Programme was on track for delivering a solution that would enable Safety, Performance and Risk Analysts to consistently access data sourced from key systems. However, the programme would not deliver the breadth of the regulator’s data strategy, including the removal of significant manual handling across the organisation, the establishment of a Centre of Expertise and the full enterprise level exploitation of Data and Intelligence across the business for Better Risk Regulation. 


The assurance review gathered evidence from 13 stakeholder interviews across the organisation, from the Executive Committee through to the Programme Team, and reviewed key programme documentation.  


Delivery progress across the programme was then correlated against four common causes of failure for change programmes:  


  1. Lack of stakeholder alignment around a clearly defined vision and target end state for the programme  
  2. Limited understanding of where the programme fits within the enterprise-wide transformation roadmap to ensure the programme can be governed appropriately  
  3. Inadequate programme delivery mechanics to ensure the programme has the appropriate levels of capability and control to ensure successful delivery  
  4. Insufficient business engagement and collaboration to create the ‘pull’ from across the organisation to adopt the changes and realise the intended benefits and outcomes of the programme. 


Using external insight and experience of the lessons learnt from similar projects, recommendations were developed to advise the regulator on how to ensure the project would deliver the strategic ambitions of the organisation. 


The outcome was an assurance report with 23 recommendations that, if operationalised, would significantly improve delivery success. This included nine recommendations which were critical to action in the very short-term. The report and recommendations were accepted by the industry regulator’s Executive Committee.  

“Project One conducted a short review of a key strategic project and created an actionable report that will be used to better align to our overall strategy and improve its overall delivery.


The experience that they bring means you can trust them to deliver a quality output that meets your needs with little need for ongoing oversight and direction. I look forward to working with Project One again in the future”.

Head of Portfolio Delivery
Industry Regulator

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