And Counting

More often than not reports on major projects or events are written after the moment – the race has been run; the building has been built; the system has been installed.

Such post implementation reviews have a place but so does a well written pre-implementation review.

And it is within that context that this week we came across a well written report by the Auditor General of the Australian state of Queensland on the preparations for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games is an international multi-sport event that will be held in Gold Coast City, Queensland, Australia between 4 to 15 April 2018. The winning bid was announced in Basseterre, Saint Kitts on 11 November 2011.

It will be one of the largest sporting events to be held in 2018.

Avid readers of McLeod Governance will recall that we explored how Delhi hosted the 2010 Commonwealth Games and recall that many attributes of a success event were lacking.

So where does the 2018 Games sit just over three years from commencement:

While preparations for the Games are progressing, overall planning, budgeting and governance is not at the level of maturity required to provide assurance across the entire program of work. This is because there is no single source of accountability or authority for whole-of-Games program management.

The report continued:

Against stated delivery time frames for individual projects, we found some early slippage of key milestones—including functional area planning and the Games village—which raises questions about the effects of these delays on an immovable deadline if not properly managed.

We particularly like that the report is pragmatic that schedules can change:

Slippage is inevitable in such a complex program of work; however, at present there is no mature aligned and integrated master plan between the Games partners suited to a program of this complexity to provide the Games partners with realistic management information to understand the effect of these slippages.

What is concerning though that four years after winning the bid:

The current budgeted net cost of the Games to the state cannot yet be relied upon as an accurate indicator of likely final cost, because the Games budget has not yet moved past its initial high level perspective. More detailed analysis of costs is required. Without this budget discipline, spending more than needed is as much a risk as spending more than budgeted.

And as the report notes:

Delivering the Games is a complex multi-entity program. Applying disciplined and robust governance arrangements, program management and budget management does not guarantee success but does significantly improve the potential for successful delivery.

This report is an excellent overview of what it takes to stage a major event or undertake a major project and at the very core of a successful outcome is a properly structured governance framework.

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