Home Office overhauls ESN governance structure following PAC report

10/7/2019

The Emergency Services Mobile Communications Programme (ESMCP) is implementing a review of its management structure, in order to further refine governance of the ESN project.

Home Office overhauls ESN governance structure following PAC report
Home Office overhauls ESN governance structure following PAC report
News of the move comes in a recent Treasury minute, in which the Home Office answered recommendations made in relation to the programme by the Public Accounts Committee in a report published in July. One of these recommendations was to take steps to: “Improve senior oversight of the programme; ensure assumptions are subject to appropriate challenge; and to make sure the findings of independence assurance reviews are widely shared and taken seriously.” 
 
Responding in the Treasury document, the Home Office said: “The department is reviewing ESN’s governance and management structure to ensure it will support the ramp-up phase of delivery.
Parts of the new governance structure have been implemented following consultation with the suppliers, users and the funding sponsoring bodies. Senior oversight is being strengthened as part of this review.”

The programme continued by stating that an ‘Independent Assurance Panel’ had also been set-up, consisting of senior representatives “with a wealth of experience of major programmes and the telecoms sector.” According to ESMCP, this panel has agreed a work programme based on “current challenges faced by the introduction of ESN.” 
 
The aforementioned PAC report - which followed the programme’s most recent appearance in front of the committee in May – registered the body’s ongoing concern about the project, despite the recent ESN reset announced at the end of 2018. These concerns revolved around timescale, escalating cost, as well as skilling.
 
To quote the PAC report: “The programme faces substantial levels of technical and commercial risk, and failures to date have undermined the confidence of users that the programme will deliver a system that is fit for purpose and meets their needs. On current evidence it seems inevitable that there will be further delays and cost increases.”
 
The target implementation date for changes to the programme’s senior oversight is this month.

Photo: Home Office permanent secretary Sir Philip Rutnam, who appeared before the PAC in May.

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Author: Philip Mason