Public Sector Services

The Project Advisory Group helps public sector clients create and deliver digital infrastructure projects by providing comprehensive advisory and transactional solutions. Working together, we provide commercial, technical, financial, procurement and legal services that wrap every element of the project life-cycle from strategy creation through to the end of the contract term and beyond.

From Project start we can help with the following

Preparing Project Business Case

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Situation report 

A detailed assessment of the do-nothing case bringing together existing infrastructure and connectivity availability across the area, strategic plans of network operators, and assessment of the gap.

Audit of assets and opportunities

A full assessment and mapping of assets and opportunities to attract investment in infrastructure across the area.

Portfolio creation

Development and production of an infrastructure investment portfolio for the region for use to communicate investment requirements and attract industry investment.

Project Formulation / Inception

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Vision/Strategy – Objectives

Support your team in creation and agreement of the overall vision for the Project and the Project delivery strategy.

 

Accountability at an early stage

We will help you to establish and maintain clear:

  • distinctions between each internal and external role. Maintaining oversight of the Project but ensuring that the delivery organisation earns its autonomy to do its job; and
  • organisational accountability for systems integration from the outset. Creating a suitably empowered team to direct the integration activities of the project.

Creating the right skill sets and putting the right authority in place

We will help you to:

  • select a Project board that has the right blend of skills and is charged with challenging strategy and risk;
  • evolve and supplement the Board to bring in fresh perspectives; and
  • define and create suitable control gates along with decision makers that apply rigorous but objective judgements.

 

Internal Stakeholder buy-in

Interface with and presentations to:

  • Executive bodies and Boards;
  • Members;
  • Project specific teams;
  • Intra-authority clients; and
  • the public (if required).

 

Advisory Team

Assist Client with gaining internal sponsorship and forming agreement on internal and external team requirements e.g. insurance and technical support.

 

Internal Business Case

Creation of internal business case reflecting vision/strategy.

Advice on the appropriate vehicle/structure for the procurement. Clear articulation of the gap and the need for intervention; establishing costs and investment requirements; minimising risk to our client; establishing clear and achievable outcomes.

 

Approvals and Governance

Support the client in presentation of vision/strategy and business case to stakeholders and procurement of all initial approvals necessary for Project commencement.

Engaging External Stakeholders

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Engaging Central Govt and Funder(s)

Identification and engagement with the most appropriate Central Government department(s) for sponsorship and/or to provide funding.

 

External Business Case and Outputs

Creation of external business case reflecting vision/strategy, nuanced to the requirements of external stakeholders.

 

Grant Funding Application(s)

Completion of Grant Funding Application(s) reflecting project specifics whilst tailored to the differing needs of each funder.

 

The Public and Press

Ensuring that a consistent message on Project scope is passed to the public and the press. Handling enquires from the public and the press and managing reputational issues for the Project.

Managing communications to the public and press from the Executive, Members and the wider client base.

Procurement Scope and Strategy

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Consideration of Procurement Options and optimal route

Wrapped procurement services covering all aspects of the procurement process.

 

Market testing and shaping

Engagement with industry and development of supplier base to attract investors and inform the procurement design.

Revisit strategy and technical specifications/requirements in response to market feedback

Shaping and adapting of the technical specification and supplier engagement requirements through industry engagement and market testing.

 

Gateways

Passing through local and central Gateway processes.

State aid, Commercial Terms, Funding Agreements and Internal and External approvals

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Review State aid position

Confirm correct State aid treatment of the Project.  Liaise with appropriate Government/European agencies where State aid exists and seek appropriate approvals.

 

Work up and finalise contract suite to reflect agreed: inputs/outputs; funding terms; and risk allocation

Our deal experience will ensure that you can quickly determine the form of contract to be used – accounting for project specific scope of works/services and risk allocations.

Importantly, we have spent many years creating bespoke contract suites that address market and operational issues in a manner that is acceptable to, and workable for, bidder sets. The mechanisms finesse those contained in many standard form documents in a way which provides certainty whilst maintaining ease of use. The lesson is that one size does not fit all and that an optimal result requires intellectual rigour and an ability to drive buy-in from Government agencies and funders.

We have also worked extensively with, and had input into, a number of standard form contracts so we are aware of both the benefits and pitfalls of adopting them.

Negotiate and finalise project specific grant agreements/funding documents

Having acted for both recipients and funders, we are adept at negotiating funding terms that accurately reflect project specific requirements. This is a critical skill as many template funding agreements contain sensitivities which cannot be adhered to on the ground.

 

Procure all internal and external approvals

Working with your client team, central Government, funders and stakeholders to ensure that all appropriate authorisations and approvals are in place for the Project to proceed. It is critical that no blockers are left in place – we seek to remove all uncertainty around the success of the Project.

 

Work up a procurement and evaluation suite

Creation of procurement documents that provide:

  • a comprehensive description of the Project;
  • clear instructions to bidders as to:
      • the procurement process itself;
      • the timelines that will be adhered to;
      • what is required of the bidders;
      • how submissions will be evaluated; and
      • on what basis the Project will be awarded;

The clarity required to eliminate the opportunity for challenge.

In-Procurement Process

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Engagement with internal and external advisers

Ensure that:

  • all appointments are in place (e.g. financial, commercial, procurement, legal, insurance, technical etc.);
  • team structures and responsibilities are clear and known;
  • decision making processes are known and in place; and
  • timelines and expectations are set as against internal and external requirements/constraints.

 

Market Engagement

Engage with the potential bidder set:

  • run bidder engagement days;
  • provide a clear and concise overview of the Project including vision5, strategy and objectives;
  • provide an overview of the commercial terms and clarity on risk allocation; and
  • collate bidder feedback and use it to reassess/sense check.

 

Run/Manage the procurement process

Work with the Project team(s) to drive the procurement process whilst managing bidder engagement to ensure competition.

 

Manage Evaluation

Manage the Project team’s handling of the evaluation process and provide expert internal challenge to the evaluation process – including advice and guidance on the levels of probability and transparency to minimise risks associated with external procurement challenge.

 

Manage approval/award

Ensure the correct procedures for internal and external approval and award criteria are met, alongside communications to stakeholders and bidders.

 

Manage challenges (if any)

Understanding and experience of procurement challenge and the successful defence of the challenge.

 

Sign

Management of a professional and clean signing for the Project – maximising internal and external benefits and messaging for the Project.

Project Delivery

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Project Management/Oversight

Our team has managed all aspects of some of the most successful projects in the UK, from the perspectives of both the public sector and the private sector.

Intensive project management is often overlooked but it is fact essential to successful Project delivery and maximising benefits. We can help you with all aspects of project management from financial, legal and technical aspects through to commercial analysis and negotiation. We can also provide you with market information which gives you the comfort of knowing what you should expect to see and achieve.

Project management includes the delivery of outputs relevant to funding conditions, and the management of output evidence collection.

 

Funding stream management

The business case will accurately forecast cashflow requirements from all funders for both capital spend and revenue spend, taking account of timescales for the drawdown of funding from external stakeholders.  This will allow for accurate working capital modelling and recognition of all financial exposure.

 

Assurance

The project team is experienced in the management of third party assurance and audit requirements from all stakeholders and funders, alongside more traditional external and internal audit.

We are also experienced in managing internal assurance and audit on project spend, which may result in funding clawback for the stakeholders, and output collection during the procurement process, deployment periods and in-life. 

 

Dispute

Our comprehensive understanding of the Project and our ability to optimise outcomes from disputes ensures that what seems like a crisis can often be turned into a win.

In-Life and Project Expiry

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Pro-active management – extracting value, benefits realisation and optimising outcomes

A procurement is not complete on contract award or on asset deployment.  A procurement is complete at the end of contractual term – following fulfilment of any and all required post-term obligations.

Our team is experienced in managing projects ‘In-Life’, to identify opportunities, manage changes, create flexible strategies, optimise benefits and ensure ongoing successful project delivery.

 

True-Up and Defrayment analysis and testing

We have successfully negotiated and implemented some of the most effective true-up and defrayment testing procedures in the market. The processes are user friendly, provide transparency of spend and have been shown to deliver significant reinvestment sums.

 

Gain share extraction

We ensure that in-life and expiry gain share extraction is maximised for every Project. Reinvestment benefits can be utilised to create hugely positive impacts on a Project – in terms of additional works/services and in terms of wider perception of success.

 

Reinvestment opportunity creation

We have experience in working with funding bodies in the EU and UK to structure funding agreements and contracts that enable effective reinvestment opportunities (overage/gainshare).

 

Assurance

We assess funding risk and stakeholder assurance requirements in order to build in compliance with funding conditions.

 

Structuring and negotiation of Changes

We create Project specific change mechanisms that fairly balance both operational and financial risk. Allowing both Parties to introduce Change in a fair and transparent manner, whilst not unfairly exposing either Party or distorting the original dynamics of the Project.

 

Optimal re-negotiation results for Contractor required changes/variations

Contractors often require changes/variations in order to navigate operational challenges or timing issues that the Project documentation does not, in the ordinary course, provide protection for. Rather than reject such Changes and thus compound delivery problems, it is sometimes better to negotiate and seek to leverage benefits from such changes.

 

Operational problem solving

Projects must consider commercial, financial, technical and legal issues.  The Projects are made more complex due to political considerations and layering of multiple stakeholder expectations.  We are expert in finding innovative solutions to the problems that occur throughout the project lifecycle.

 

Post Implementation

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Audit and monitoring

Public sector intervention programmes go beyond the contracted term. We support our clients to ensure that the value promised is delivered and opportunities to add value are identified throughout the investment lifetime as well as the project timeline.

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