Message from Sarah Johnson, CEO
As those of you who were able to attend our All Hands earlier will have heard, I have decided that I will be leaving the restoration programme before the summer Parliamentary recess.
Given Parliament’s intended timetable, through the remainder of this year and into 2023, for the legislation to enable the transfer of the sponsorship function and establish clarity for the future of the restoration programme, set out in last week’s note to Members and Parliamentary staff and shared with you all, the time is right for me to move on.
Amanda Colledge (Business Case Director), Claire Maugham (Communications Director) and Chris Sexton (Chief of Staff) have also chosen to leave the Programme and will be departing in the coming weeks. Gurdip Juty (Finance and Corporate Services Director) will be remaining in post. I’d like to say a huge personal thanks to Amanda, Claire, and Chris, who have led major programmes of work to develop the restoration plan to protect the Houses of Parliament buildings, engage and consult with members of the public and other stakeholders, and oversee governance arrangements and Parliamentary engagement. Their leadership and the quality of work delivered by everyone in their teams have been outstanding.
I am very proud of what we have all achieved together since the Sponsor Body became substantive in 2020. We have made significant progress to develop the detailed and costed restoration plan, in line with the questions and objectives set by Parliament. We were on track to bring the final assured version of that plan to Members of both Houses for their decision next year, as set out in the Parliamentary Works (Restoration and Renewal) Act 2019. Our focus has been on value for money and on the essential works needed to save the Parliament buildings for future generations.
However, in the light of the decisions made by the Commissions of both Houses earlier this year, it is right that new arrangements are taken forward for the future of the restoration. Parliamentary authorities and the transition team are currently focussing on this. It is Parliament’s intention to propose an interim leader for the Sponsor Body, and we will be able to tell you more about that in the coming weeks.
The leadership team, our heads of departments and our HR colleagues are focussed on you all and your well-being. Going through change is difficult for everyone. Our priority in the period before our departure is the welfare and emotional well-being of our colleagues and ensuring we keep everyone updated as soon as decisions become clear.
I’d like to personally thank each and every one of you in the Sponsor Body, and in the programme more widely. It has been a privilege to work with and learn from you all, to have seen you bringing such talent, expertise and commitment to this restoration, and to have played a small part in your careers.
As you know, the Commissions of both Houses have stated they are committed to preserving the Palace and are exploring whether a new approach could enable R&R to be delivered in a different way. The Delivery Authority is continuing with its programme of surveys and investigations into the condition of the buildings which will inform future decisions. The Sponsor Body leadership team will continue to work with them while arrangements are made for the future of the sponsorship function for the programme.
My thanks again, and my very best wishes to all of you.
Sarah Johnson, CEO Sponsor Body