HS2 has implemented seven of 14 recommendations made by the public sector spending watchdog, after it produced two reports warning about the timetable and complexity of the high-speed rail project.
The National Audit Office (NAO) produced a report in 2016 which found that HS2 Ltd had struggled to meet an overly ambitious timetable set for it by the Department for Transport, with the programme facing cost and schedule pressures. Phases 1, 2a and 2b of the project are expected to cost between £72bn and £98bn, based on 2019 prices.
A follow-up report in 2020 found that HS2 and the Department had underestimated the programme’s complexity and had not accounted for the level of uncertainty and risk in the programme.
The NAO made a series of recommendations focused on: assurance and oversight; managing cost and schedule; reporting and communications; and programme management across government.
In its latest progress report, published today (10 June), the NAO found that the Department and HS2 had taken steps to implement all of its recommendations.
It said: “Many of the NAO’s recommendations will remain relevant throughout the life of the High Speed Two programme and require ongoing work by the Department and HS2 Ltd. However, the NAO accepts some recommendations cannot be implemented until key decisions have been made, particularly on Phase Two of the programme.
“The NAO has reviewed the progress of the High Speed Two programme on four previous occasions, examining preparations and future risks to value for money. It plans to continue reviewing the programme in detail at key points of delivery.”