High Speed 2

The objective:

High Speed Two Limited (HS2) is the company promoted by the Secretary of State for Transport for developing the UK’s new high-speed rail network linking London to the Midlands and it is funded by grant-in-aid from the government. It is Europe’s largest infrastructure programme.

A dedicated high-speed railway spine will connect London to Birmingham from 2026 (Phase One), extend to Crewe by 2027 (Phase 2a) and then, along a Y-shaped route, to Manchester in the West and Leeds in the East from 2033 (Phase 2b).

In doing so, HS2 will provide fast, frequent and reliable connections for over 100 cities and towns, including eight of UK’s largest cities. It will open up local and regional markets, attract investment and improve job opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people across the whole country. It will add much needed capacity to the network, carrying up to 300,000 people a day and releasing space on existing routes for new or additional cross-country, commuter and freight services.

The Challenge:

HS2, as a high performing and innovative organisation, aims to achieve new standards in infrastructure delivery, resilient operations and passenger experience.

The key to successful delivery is excellence in project development; a well-planned and developed project reduces risk and increases certainty of success during delivery and operation. As a non-departmental public body, which relies on public funding, HS2 needs to satisfy all the governance requirements imposed by the Department for Transport (DfT) as well as the wider requirements of Her Majesty’s Treasury (HMT) and the Major Projects Authority (MPA). The Development Agreement sets out the conditions under which HS2 is to receive, hold and spend any public funds.

The complexity and the strategic importance of the High Speed Two project required an introduction of a strong and reliable sponsorship internal function. Steel Associates was brought in to:

  • provide clear direction and strategic input into establishing the project sponsorship function, aligned to the organisation’s strategy;
  • offer strategic support in the development of reporting and metrics to ensure alignment amongst internal and external stakeholders;
  • Support and develop the overall delivery strategy of Phase One Stations, safeguarding wider benefits.

The Solution:

Steel Associates has managed the setup of an Internal Sponsorship team to safeguard the benefits and objectives described by the HS2 Business Case. To ensure appropriate delivery mandates were given to the HS2 programme and that strategic changes did not compromise those benefits, Steel Associates provided a single coordinating control point which secured definition and harmonisation of requirements aligning both client and stakeholder expectations.

Steel Associates successfully achieved its objective by setting up key strategic steering groups with representations from all major stakeholders across the project to track and monitor compliance with the Development Agreement obligations and relevant processes.

The Steel Associates team has managed the cascade of key obligations from the Department of Transport via the Development Agreement and provided strategic support to the development and implementation of the sponsorship function within HS2.

To demonstrate compliance with Government best practices it was essential to establish a structured development and delivery lifecycle granting HS2 a clear audit track of all end to end key decisions resulting in benefits realisation. The Steel Associates team developed the Corporate Sponsorship model and a programme lifecycle fully aligned to forming organisational designs.

The Outcome:

  • Developed and maintained key relationships with local authorities on both Phases of the project allowing for an integrated approach in resolving issues and points of tension to a single agreed position.
  • Implemented Phase One Integration Boards, providing a robust platform for key stakeholder interfaces and programme inter-dependencies to be aligned and agreed.
  • Provided strategic support to the early stages of the development of the overall HS2 Euston Over Site Development (OSD) strategy working with both DfT and Network Rail, including procurement and appointment of specialist commercial property advice to support delivery of OSD Enabling Business Case for DfT. (a£500M HM Treasury funding approval in 2015 Spending Review).
  • Instigated and managed the delivery of the Euston Strategic Review bringing together the views of multiple stakeholders into a single aligned high-level narrative used to development the overall Euston 4 station master plan.

Project Details

Client High Speed 2
Date December 2015
Skills Programme Manager
View High Speed 2

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