Checkbox culture could threaten post-Covid infrastructure, new report says


A new report from international real estate and construction consultancy Gleeds in partnership with multi-stakeholder think tank Radix suggests that the UK government’s multibillion pound infrastructure investment plans to boost the UK economy after Covid are threatened by an ever-present ‘culture checkbox’ in purchasing and management.

Led by Radix, a centrist think tank for contemporary politics whose fellows include Sir Vince Cable, Stephen Kinnock MP and Lord Andrew Lansley, Tickbox Infrastructure takes an in-depth look at the impact of the public sector’s reliance on bureaucracy to maintain infrastructure in large scale. projects on track.

The authors there claim that plans to build new hospitals, housing and transport links, as noted in the recent spring budget, will all face delays, cost overruns and safety concerns unless the role of human judgment is prioritized.

The report was produced by organization co-founder and journalist David Boyle in collaboration with non-fiction writer Lesley Yarranton. It also benefits from the insightful contributions of a number of key industry figures, including prominent academics from York and Liverpool Universities, engineers from foreign transport departments and Gleeds Chairman Richard Steer.

The post stems from the recent Gleeds market research, in which contractors cited infrastructure as one of the top five sectors for tenders in the second half of the year.

Using as a basis the government’s introduction to its recent white paper on planning, he suggests that it aims to “demolish [the planning process] and start over ”, the new document makes a number of recommendations. These include strengthening local government institutions instead of creating huge centralized power structures; fostering a culture change in Whitehall to foster faster decision making; encourage a shift to Irish-style consultative assemblies; and the placement of senior engineers in government departments to act as scientific officers.

Commenting on the report, Richard Steer said: “Gleeds is pleased to support Radix in their production of this comprehensive document. As the UK government seeks to revive the economy through major investments in infrastructure, the time has come to rethink and reform a ‘checkbox’ culture that hinders progress and only grants little value to the expertise and experience of human beings responsible for implementing complex projects. If adopted, the solutions outlined below offer insight into how such projects could effectively enable the country to build back better, greener and faster.

David Boyle, director of policy at Radix and author of the report, said: “The emphasis on form filling, targets and key performance indicators in corporate governance tends to make processes slower, more costly and dehumanized, creating a gray area where things are not as they appear or as measured. This in turn can lead to disasters and injustices such as the Grenfell Tower fire ”. He added: “In Tickbox Infrastructure we have been able to highlight the shortcomings of the current system and make recommendations on what changes need to be made for the cost and time efficiency gains to be realized. fully achieved. ”

Click here to download the full report: Tickbox Infrastructure.

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