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Restoration and Renewal Programme: Strategic Review Publication

Volume 690: debated on Thursday 11 March 2021

In May 2020 the sponsor body established a strategic review of the restoration and renewal programme.

The purpose of the review was to consider whether anything had changed so significantly as to warrant a change in the strategy for the restoration and renewal programme. Such reviews are a pillar of established best practice for major projects.

The sponsor body invited views from Members, Members’ staff, parliamentary staff and members of the public. The sponsor body also consulted with the Commissions of both Houses, as well as relevant parliamentary Committees on the draft strategic review recommendations.

The sponsor body’s strategic review was completed in late 2020, and in the early part of 2021 has been going through a period of engagement with the Commissions of both Houses of Parliament. It has been published today.

The review has considered all the evidence available, including previous investigations and reports and new evidence from surveys and submissions to the review. It recommends new approaches to completing the restoration while minimising costs—and provides a clear direction for the next stages of the work.

The review recommends the adoption of a set of “essential” and “stretch” objectives, to be endorsed by the Commissions of both Houses. The essential objectives will form the core deliverables for the programme, to inform a “do essential” option in the detailed and costed restoration and renewal plan. The stretch objectives will offer greater ambition.

The review found that by approaching the restoration in a new way, with a phased approach to the delivery of the works to the Palace of Westminster, the time Members and staff would spend in temporary accommodation could be kept to a minimum. While the detailed and costed restoration and renewal plan will set out specific timescales, the period during which works are taking place in the Palace of Westminster should be thought of in terms of years and not months.

The review found that Parliament’s northern estate, within the secure perimeter, is the best place for temporarily locating MPs. Specific plans for these arrangements will be drawn up in collaboration with Parliament’s in-house team, respecting recent decisions from the House of Commons Commission regarding the sequencing of works on the northern estate and in line with the developing parliamentary masterplan.

Members of the House of Lords will be located in temporary accommodation at the Queen Elizabeth II conference centre, and proposals for this will have at their heart an objective to minimise costs.

The full text and recommendations of the strategic review can be viewed on the restoration and renewal website: reports/strategic-review

The public want to see this UNESCO world heritage site, in which they have told us they take great pride, protected from damage and decay, and at the same time want to see that money is spent well. Restoring Parliament will create thousands of jobs and apprenticeships in towns, cities and communities across the UK, from engineering and high-tech design to traditional crafts such as carpentry and stonemasonry.

The detailed and costed restoration and renewal plan will be focused on delivering value for money and will be informed by around 100 surveys and investigations of the Palace of Westminster.

The review sets out clear proposed objectives for the restoration and the need for clearer governance and closer working with Parliament. Supported by the Delivery Authority, the sponsor body will continue to develop the detailed and costed restoration and renewal plan that will for the first time give an accurate sense of the costs, timescales and full detail of the work needed. The detailed and costed restoration and renewal plan will be put before both Houses for a decision before the parliamentary building works can commence.