Saturday, 31 August 2013

Wobbles on HS2 business case

It is expected that tomorrow George Osborne will embark on a
different journey planner to justify HS2. The core business justification is expected to shift from reduced travel time to capacity and regeneration.

Set this against the backdrop of MPs recent confidence of having their collective voices heard over military intervention in Syria and you may say this shift of emphasis is very brave - it could actually be stoking the fire for those against the whole project.

I have discussed HS2 many times but it has struck me, from early on, that there is a need to get the basics right in communicating HS2 benefits. I'm not so sure that a good communications strategy for a procurement of this size is to be unclear what the key benefits are.

From a procurement perspective, the key question around HS2, and any other major spend, should be 'what is the problem we are trying to solve?' The answer to that question should then lead to options being generated to solve the problem. Only then can the options be appraised. If the problem to be solved is capacity and regeneration it is highly likely that you would generate different solutions than if the problem to be solved is shifting people and things faster throughout the country.

If HS2 is to get on the right track, my suggestion is that we need to build consensus on what is the problem which needs to be solved - it is a mistake to start from the position of saying "HS2 is the solution, now what is the problem?".

No comments:

Post a Comment