Written evidence submitted by Dr Grahaeme Henderson (MAR0001)
Maritime 2050 was an ambitious project that would have positioned the UK at the forefront in this hugely important sector, with some 95% of British imports and exports being moved by sea, including the things that we use each day, our energy and our food. It is also vital to the Gross Value Add of the UK economy and jobs, not just at ports and on ships, but across many other sectors where the UK leads in the world such as insurance, banking, legal and brokering.
I was a member of the Steering Committee for Maritime 2050 and whilst I was supportive of the overall direction, many of my concerns that I had at the time were not taken forward, including:
- Lack of Strategic Oversight: The recommendations were pitched at too low a level. Instead, there needed to be further higher strategic level of thinking that would have allowed for an understanding of the relatively few real root causes and the fundamental changes that are required. These would also have positively impacted many of the recommendations in groups, as opposed to attempting to tackle them on an individual basis.
- Lack of Focus: There was a lack of focus with an attempt to incorporate every aspect of the maritime sector. The result is that it comes over as a wash of over 180 recommendations, all being of equal importance and impossible to understand the priorities. Instead, there should have been a more focused set of high priority recommendations.
- Lack of Action Orientation: The recommendations are mostly very weak and indecisive, with words such as encourage, support, assess, review, consider, explore, anticipate, play, promote, advocate, expect, aspire, seek, etc. Instead, the recommendations should have been developed further to delivery orientated actions, with clarity in terms of the end goals.
- Lack of Accountability: The recommendations do not assign action parties and talk in general terms, such as the UK, Government, etc. Instead, each recommendation should have been assigned and accepted by an individual leader, who would commit to delivering the requirements with a timeline and monitoring of progress with stage gates.
- Lack of Metrics: In the over 180 recommendations, there are no metrics by which the success or otherwise, would be judged. Instead, clearly defined data driven targets should have been developed, which would also allow for an understanding of the successes and an early identification of corrective actions.
- Lack of Follow-up: There was no governance established around the delivery and expectation on follow-up. Instead, a forthright Chairman should have been appointed, with a team of selected individuals and support staff, to monitor and report on the progress and take necessary action to rectify shortfalls. In addition, there should have been formal interim reviews, to ensure that the recommendations remained current and that the root causes were being addressed.