Tickbox Infrastructure

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‘Tickbox culture’ threatens post-covid infrastructure investment plans is our verdict in this report, produced in partnership with leading engineering project management consultancy, Gleeds.

The report, drawing extensively on interviews with academics, politicians and engineers, argues that plans to develop new infrastructure, as set out in the budget, will face extensive problems in terms of cost, safety and timing without a major shift from bureaucracy to human judgement to keep projects on track.

The authors, David Boyle and Lesley Yarranton conclude with a number of recommendations, which, if implemented would lead to what Richard Steer, Chair of Gleeds describes as an opportunity to ‘build back better, greener and faster.’

  • Beefing up existing local government institutions rather than creating huge, new centralised ones, including breaking England up into three or four provinces each with its own secretary of state and block budget leaving Whitehall to international affairs and the overall economic co-ordination.
  • A change of culture in Whitehall, including no-fault management and leadership training to encourage faster decision-making.
  • The removable of the most controversial decisions to Irish-style consultative assemblies.
  • Senior engineers to be put into government departments like scientific officers and a  public information campaign to promote the value of engineering.

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