Palace of Westminster

Nichols has supported the Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority established by Parliament to oversee and deliver the Houses of Parliament Restoration and Renewal programme. This critical programme will protect the Palace of Westminster from failure such as fire or flood and create a working home for parliamentary democracy for generations to come.

Whilst an ongoing programme of maintenance has kept the Palace of Westminster operational, the building is in need of fundamental restoration. Replacing the systems is a major task that will take years but must be done to ensure a safe working environment for the thousands of people who work in the Palace and enable the continued operation of the Palace as a working home for our national democracy for the next century.

As a Grade I listed monument and a globally renowned UNESCO world heritage site it is steeped in history. Restoration and renewal works must be sensitive to the Palace’s heritage and seek to protect the historic fabric of the building. Delivering a heritage renovation at this scale is a very significant challenge. Minimising costs for the Palace renovation and any temporary accommodation for Parliament during construction works in the Palace is of key importance.

Nichols worked with the Programme’s Senior Executives to develop the Target Operating Model for the transition of the Sponsor Body from shadow to substantive state and the Delivery Authority into limited company status. We supported the newly appointed Chief Executive of the Sponsor Body in designing and implementing the Sponsor Body Operating Model. Working closely with the Sponsor Body Chief Executive and the Delivery Authority Programme Director, we mapped all programme and corporate governance functions for both organisations and defined the governance processes. This work was supplemented with additional Nichols support in creating the technical standards management and assurance strategies, including the establishment of the Technical Authority Group.

We supported the work to develop the inaugural Programme Corporate and Sponsor Body Business Plans to help those within and outside the programme to understand the purpose of the programme, and the critical tasks during Phase 1 (up to and including Programme Outline Business Case approval). These key documents provided clarity to both organisations of Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority accountabilities and responsibilities.

Nichols supported the Chief Executives of the Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority with the development, drafting and publication of the Strategic Review of the Restoration and Renewal progamme. The review was key in setting clear objectives for the programme, determining the way forward on the delivery approach, the scale and location of temporary accommodation for parliamentary operations, and the changes to governance needed to deliver the project. Through complex data analysis and stakeholder engagement including with senior Parliamentarians, the review was able to thoroughly test and challenge existing proposals to deliver clear, evidence based recommendations. The review was published in March 2021 and provided parliament assurance about the next stage of the programme. Nichols continued to support the Sponsor Body in briefing review findings to key stakeholders and embedding next steps into programme actions.

On behalf of the Sponsor Body, Nichols drafted the Programme Outline Business Case Brief, setting out the supporting tasks and deliverables required by the Sponsor Body of the Delivery Authority. The brief was fundamental in ensuring agreement and understanding of the key tasks required to achieve future Programme Business Case approval by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Strategic Review of the
Restoration & Renewal Programme

We subsequently managed the work to develop the Phase 1 timeline outlining the activities involved in achieving approval from Parliament of the Programme Outline Business Case. In collaboration with the Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority, Nichols integrated the key activities required, and aligned the business case process, parliamentary and public engagement with the RIBA 2 design, cost and schedule. The Phase 1 timeline was adopted by the programme and its successful implementation will be key in enabling Phase 2 construction activities to begin.

Nichols has supported the Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority to set the programme up for success, ensuring the right decisions are made on the strategy for delivering the work, developing the timeline for preparing the programme business case for parliamentary approval, tasking the Delivery Authority to support the Sponsor Body in preparing the business case, and defining the governance structures needed for timely and effective decision making.

Nichols actively supports the Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority in building their capability and integrating good practice and better ways of working to assure the success of this iconic, challenging programme. Our expertise has been instrumental in setting the programme on a path to successful delivery.

As this high profile project moves forward, Nichols is proud to support the Sponsor Body and Delivery Authority, contributing our experience and supporting project sponsorship and delivery, lifecycle management, requirements management, and programme assurance and governance.


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