Wednesday, 1 November 2017

PAC unconvinced by DfT grip on project costs

Meg Hillier taking no prisoners at Monday's Public Accounts Committee hearing into TramTrain…

Chair: I have to say that whatever you take from Mr Carne’s comments about the regulator—we as a Committee have been critical about the role of the regulator in the past—it is staggering that the Department did not challenge the costs more. We cannot quite believe that that happened.

Bernadette Kelly: Without question, we would provide much greater challenge and seek far greater assurance on these project costs now than we may have done back in 2012.

Chair: Can I make you an offer, Ms Kelly? The next time you are looking at a project, this Committee would love to look at it prior to the point at which it is agreed, just to have a good rummage through the numbers. I would be very happy to do that.

Bernadette Kelly: I hope that what you would see now is that there is a really rigorous process. If it would be helpful to the Committee to provide some further information on exactly the process that Mr Carne and I have outlined, we would be delighted to do so.

Chair: We would be interested to see that. As I said, the offer stands: if you have a future project that you would like us to look through in detail before it spends taxpayers’ money, we would be very happy to do that. Thank you very much.