Headlines: June 23rd, 2003

One of the main weaknesses of large scale project management across government is being tackled with the introduction of a new specialism. Currently managing change programmes and large scale projects is a once in a life time experience for civil servants who have to cope with a steep learning curve. Most of the expertise from the intense learning is lost at the end of the project with the move back into mainstream work.The Office of Government Commerce and the Cabinet Office Corporate Development Group have launched the Programme and Project Management Specialism to allow people in departments and other public bodies to make a career in project management.

The OGC has already set up a Delivery Skills programme and prompted all major departments to create Centres of Excellence to oversee large scale construction and IT projects. The new specialism framework will provide help, advice and support for its members to develop their skills and careers within the Civil Service. OGC Chief Executive Peter Gershon said: “This initiative will be flexible in nature. Participants are likely to experience a strong upward magnetic attraction to develop their career within this specialism.”

The specialism will be made up of full members who have qualifications and experience of project management and associate members who want to gain qualifications. Civil servants who choose to make a career in project management will benefit from a continuous development scheme which will include advice on qualifications available and ways of gaining appropriate experience. They will be eligible for annual awards. There will be an annual conference for sharing experiences.

A cross-government network will ensure that details of forthcoming projects across government are publicised to members of the specialism and that they are aware of the skill requirements for each of the vacant posts. This information will be published on a website, which will also provide a discussion area.