A new report says Australia’s project management process remains “tough and hard” but has moved in the right direction in the past three years.
The report by consultancy BCA and Australian Technology Review (ATR) said there were still barriers to getting projects to the next level.
In 2015, the Government announced a $2.5 billion program to fund projects in the healthcare sector, which included $2 billion to expand the Medical Equipment Project and $1 billion to modernise the system of projects management.
However, the report said there was “no evidence that any project management or procurement process has been improved over the past year”.
In its report, the ATR said: “We have identified some of the challenges and opportunities in the project management and procurement process that we believe can be improved.”
In a press release, the AFR said it found that: “While projects are currently funded in full, the final value of the project remains unclear, particularly for project management services.
Projects that are funded have to prove that they will deliver the value of what they were funded for.”
It said the Government’s decision to fund medical equipment projects in 2018-19, as part of its “project certainty” initiative, was “failing to identify the underlying issues that could lead to the project not progressing”.
“It is also disappointing that the project procurement process continues to be an uninspiring process, with projects being managed and delivered without the requisite level of transparency and accountability,” the ABR said.
Projects Management Agency chief executive Andrew Coughlan said there is a need to create “a clearer and more open process” for funding medical equipment.
“The Government has identified the most pressing problems with the procurement process in the last two years, and it needs to get the system back on track,” he said.
“A more transparent, open and accountable process for the procurement of medical equipment is needed.”
ATR said there had been improvements in the way projects are managed over the last three years, with the first project management program completed in May 2019.
The report said: Project management processes have been improved.
This has been particularly beneficial to the medical equipment industry, particularly in terms of ensuring projects are fully funded and that projects are well prioritised for delivery, and are completed as planned.
There is a significant increase in the level of engagement with the Government, the industry and other stakeholders.
This allows the project manager to provide a more transparent and responsive process to deliver the project, and to enable the project to deliver on its objectives.
This also allows the Government to provide the best possible information to the public about projects and to get a better understanding of how projects are funded.
Currently, there are three different project management programs in place in the Commonwealth: the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) (which provides project management advice), the Federal Government’s project certainty initiative and the State Government’s Medical Equipment Management program.
ATTR said: The NHMRC project management initiative is working, with two projects in operation and the remaining four projects under review.
But the report found that the NHMrc has been unable to get projects to progress, and projects are still on hold for up to two years.
Meanwhile, the Federal Department of Health has identified seven projects that need to be reviewed to ensure they are in line with Government procurement processes.
A spokesman for the NHMA said that all of the projects reviewed in the current timeframe have been completed, and that they were in good operational and financial shape.
However he said: The NHMA has not received the results of any of the planned project reviews until the end of April 2019.
That will take time.
It is disappointing that projects will continue to be delayed and will likely not be delivered in the planned timeframe.
While some projects are being reviewed, others remain on hold, including the Commonwealth Health Research Centre (CHRC), which is currently undergoing a major review.
The Government has committed to delivering three new medical equipment systems and is also reviewing its supply chain management system.
Australian Technology Review is the Australian Technology Association’s technology policy research arm.
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