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Restoration and renewal

Inquiry

In January 2018, following 20 years of discussion, Parliament approved the Restoration and Renewal programme, with an Act establishing the programme and overarching governance receiving Royal Assent in October 2019. It aims to address maintenance issues, with the Palace described as soon to become ‘uninhabitable,’ and wider objectives.  

The NAO’s report ‘Palace of Westminster Restoration and Renewal Programme’ sets out the scope and position of the programme, and the main risks that need to be managed as it progresses.  

The report finds that Parliament has made slow progress establishing the programme, this and the challenges undertaking maintenance, have meant a ‘make-do-and-mend’ maintenance approach, increasing costs and risks. The programme is still in the early stages, with an outline business case expected in summer 2022.

To oversee and deliver the programme, Parliament has created a Sponsor Body, a delivery authority structure which has worked well elsewhere, but does not guarantee success.

It is now transitioning responsibilities to the Sponsor Body which is, for example, responsible for setting the programme’s high-level requirements. Correct structures at this stage will be critical to success. 

The NAO concludes that the Sponsor Body is learning from other programmes on how to establish effective governance arrangements; identify and manage risks; and be clear about the interdependent projects such as Northern Estates, which need to be delivered on time.