Programme Support and Assurance


SFT actively supports public bodies through a number of programme support and assurances initiatives, and these are summarised below.


SFT looks to add value and confidence through its work in validation and third-party assurance on a wide range of education, health, waste and transport projects.

SFT actively supports all NPD and revenue funded projects under the hub initiative as well as a number of local authority waste projects.  In carrying out this function, SFT not only works with project teams and contributes at board level, but also carries out key stage reviews (KSRs).  The aim of KSRs is to improve efficiency in the delivery of revenue funded projects and to increase the likelihood of achieving successful procurement and operational outcomes for projects. 

KSRs are conducted at crucial stages in the procurement of a project and provide a critical but constructive assessment of their readiness to progress.  They are a helpful tool for identifying any issues that might need to be addressed or resolved before the project proceeds to the next stage.  In the past year, SFT carried out 20 KSRs.

The Information Note (in the publications box to the right) provides an overview of the process together with a copy of the generic checklists used by SFT to review NPD and hub DBFM projects.  Project Managers should contact the relevant SFT team directly to receive a copy of the relevant checklists tailored to specific programmes or projects.

Infrastructure Investment Board (IIB)

The Infrastructure Investment Board (IIB) has been established by the Scottish Government to take on an executive role in infrastructure governance, working alongside individual portfolio investment boards.  The IIB provides senior level scrutiny and challenge across the range of major government-led infrastructure projects in Scotland.  This is provided in a number of ways, including strategic review at the initial stage of major project development as well as periodic review of the governance of individual elements of the programme, satisfying itself that arrangements are robust and, where relevant, make recommendations for improvement.  SFT is a member of the Board and also provides support to the Board and the Secretariat by assisting them in selected project, programme and governance reviews.

Project Cost and Risk Management

As part of the Draft Budget 2011/12, the Scottish Government asked SFT to investigate and develop approaches to the application and management of Optimism Bias and contingency in relation to project budgets.  The aim of the SFT review was to assess current activity across the UK and abroad and develop proposals to improve cost and contingency estimation and management for major infrastructure projects and identify the potential impact of this on budget management. 

Working in conjunction with Infrastructure UK (IUK) a number of broad initiatives have emerged in relation to behaviours, governance and process that, if implemented could generate significant improvements to cost and risk estimation and budget management.

For a number of these initiatives, for example, a more tailored approach to the allocation and management of risk within a portfolio or programme has already been introduced to elements of the NPD programme and in the health sector.  SFT will work with IUK during 2012/13 to develop an implementation plan for wider application of these initiatives.

For further information, please contact Tony Rose, Infrastructure Director