Investment and infrastructure
Audit Scotland supports the improvement of public services by looking at how public money is spent, and whether policies are achieving desired outcomes for individuals and bodies. We carry out extensive work looking at public sector investment and infrastructure. This covers a wide range of areas, including:
- public bodies, such as Transport Scotland, Scottish Environment Protection Agency, Scottish Water and councils
- various topics, such as major transport projects, alternative financing methods for capital projects, sustainable transport, climate change and energy.
The hub below sets out more information on our work in this important area.
Good project management practice - vision and direction; planning; execution; measuring and monitoring; business acceptance
Good practice checklists
Our reports on Review of major capital projects in Scotland: How government works and Major capital investment in councils include checklists for achieving good practice:
Good project management practice
The appendix from our report on Review of major capital projects in Scotland includes a model for a good project management practice.
Major project and procurement lessons
In this report we highlight good practice from our recently published report on the Forth Replacement Crossing. We also summarise relevant findings and recommendations about major projects and procurement approaches from other performance audit reports to identify important lessons in managing projects.
Other useful material
National Audit Office
The National Audit Office (NAO) has produced these reports about managing projects:
- Managing major projects website - a web resource of publications and reports
- Initiating successful projects - key elements which affect project delivery, from the NAO's examination of 40 major government projects in the last three years.
- Framework to review programmes - draws together the key questions NAO asks when reviewing major programmes
- Commercial and contract management: insights and emerging best practice - sets out areas where contracts go wrong, and examples of emerging good practice across government
- Survival guide to challenging costs in major projects - outlines some of the challenges in estimating and managing costs that the NAO has observed in its work on major projects.
The Scottish Government and UK Government provide this information:
- Scottish Government Infrastructure Investment Plan – sets out its programme of long-term investment in Scotland and progress on major capital projects.
- Scottish Government provides six-monthly updates on major capital projects to the Scottish Parliament’s Public Audit and Post-legislative Committee.
- Scottish Government Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM) - provides guidance on the rules that apply to Scottish Government staff who are involved in procurement activity.
- Scottish Procurement Journey - a toolkit providing practical guidance on procurement procedures.
- Transport Scotland Scottish Transport Analysis Guide - provides an overview of the latest information and guidance for developing and assessing transport schemes and strategies.
- HM Treasury Green Book - guidance issued on how to appraise policies, programmes and projects, and on the design and use of monitoring and evaluation before, during and after implementation.
A range of other guidance can be found on the UK Government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority website.
Project Management Institute (PMI)
- Pulse of the Profession - a range of publications drawing on key themes, trends and learning in project management from PMI's annual global survey of project, programme and portfolio managers.
- PMI also supports an Institute for Government programme on How to improve infrastructure decision making in the UK
University of Oxford
Bent Flyvbjerg is Professor and Chair of Major Programme Management at Saïd Business School, Oxford University. Follow the links to his research and publications
The Infrastructure Transparency Initiative (CoST)
CoST high income case study – Scotland – this report details how Scotland has made significant reforms to advance infrastructure transparency, participation and accountability. It also outlines where improvements could be made in disclosure, assurance, multi-stakeholder working and social accountability. The Forth replacement crossing project is included as an example of good practice in stakeholder engagement in infrastructure planning and delivery (page 62).
Get in touch
To discuss Audit Scotland’s work on investment and infrastructure or let us know what you think about this page, please contact: