Improved procurement arrangements and stable leadership were two reasons why the Jobcentre Plus programme was delivered on time and under budget, a National Audit Office (NAO) report published today said.
The roll-out of the Jobcentre Plus office network was completed for £314 million less than the original £2.2 billion budget.
The influential public spending watchdog described the project as well-managed, reserving praise for its procurement aspects, where between £120m and £140m worth of savings were made by 2006-07.
Also, the roles and responsibilities of the core project management team were clearly defined and a senior responsible owner was made accountable for monitoring, controlling and delivering the programme.
Consequently, the senior management leadership remained consistent during the project. This had a positive impact on the programme.
Tim Burr, the new NAO Comptroller and Auditor General, said: “My report recognises the considerable achievement that has been made delivering over 800 centres to a high quality standard, under budget.
“The project team controlled costs effectively and achieved savings against the budget – for example by introducing better procurement arrangements. There are lessons here for other Government departments undertaking major procurement projects.
Jobcentre Plus, which began in October 2002 and finished in September 2007, replaced 1,500 jobcentres and social security offices with approximately 800 combined Jobcentre Plus offices. It was considered to be one of the largest public sector construction programmes in recent years.