The National Infrastructure Commission was established as an Executive Agency of HM Treasury on 24 January 2017. The Commission’s purpose, and its principal outputs, accountabilities and duties are set out in its published Charter, which safeguards its discretion over its work programme and the independence of its reports and recommendations. The Charter also sets out the balance of responsibility between the government and the Commission.
National Infrastructure Commission
- Sir John Armitt CBE (Chair)
- Dame Kate Barker DBE
- Professor Sir Tim Besley CBE
- Professor David Fisk CB
- Andy Green CBE
- Professor Sadie Morgan OBE
- Julia Prescot
- Bridget Rosewell CBE
The role of the Commission is to provide advice and make independent recommendations to government on national infrastructure priorities. Its objectives are to support sustainable economic growth across all regions of the UK, improve competitiveness and improve quality of life. The Commission’s core responsibilities are to produce:
- a National Infrastructure Assessment once in every Parliament, setting out the Commission’s assessment of long-term infrastructure needs with recommendations to the government
- specific studies on pressing infrastructure challenges as set by the government taking into account the views of the Commission and stakeholders. These studies will include recommendations to the government
- an annual monitoring report, taking stock of the government’s progress in areas where it has committed to taking forward recommendations of the National Infrastructure Commission.
The Commission carries out its work in line with a remit set by government, but within the context of that remit has sole responsibility for its reports and recommendations.
Its operational independence is central to the credibility of its advice and the effective delivery of its responsibilities. To support this, it seeks to perform its duties objectively, transparently and impartially.
Oversight Board and Audit and Risk Assurance Committee
The National Infrastructure Commission’s Oversight Board was established on 31 July 2017 to supervise the Commission’s financial management and administrative functions. The role of the Oversight Board is to ensure the Commission has the staff and support it needs to enable it to provide high quality advice to the government and to provide assurance that effective internal control and risk management systems are in place. An audit and risk assurance committee (ARAC) of the Oversight Board was established on 3 October 2017 to support the board in discharging its responsibilities in relation to issues of risk, control and governance, and of associated assurances
The Oversight Board consists of the Chair of the Commission, a representative of the Treasury, appropriate executive members including the Chief Executive and Chief Operating Officer, and non-executive members who may either be Commissioners nominated by the Chair, or external members appointed by the Chair. The current members of the Board are:
- Sir John Armitt (Chair)
- James Richardson (Acting CEO – Executive Member)
- Charlotte Goodrich (COO – Executive Member)
- Michael Brodie (Non-Executive Member)
- Debjani Ghosh (Non-Executive Member)
- Dennis Skinner (Non-Executive Member)
- John Staples (HM Treasury Representative)
The dates of upcoming Oversight Board meetings in 2020 are:
– 29 January
– 28 April
– 30 July
– 3 November
The independent members of the Audit and Risk Assurance Committee are:
- Michael Brodie (Chair)
- Debjani Ghosh (Deputy Chair)
- Dennis Skinner (Non-Executive Member)
The dates of upcoming Audit and Risk Assurance Committee meetings in 2020 are:
– 6 March
– 16 June
– 16 September
– 16 December
The Oversight Board’s functions relate to the corporate management of the NIC and it has no role in agreeing or reviewing its policy reports or recommendations.
Chief Executive and senior management team
The Chief Executive is responsible for managing the National Infrastructure Commission with oversight from the Oversight Board and is Accounting Officer for the agency.
The Chief Executive is supported by a senior management team comprising the Chief Economist, the Chief Operating Officer and a Director of Policy. This group meets regularly and provides day-to-day oversight of the Commission staff’s activities.
Resources and corporate plan
A multi-year financial settlement has been agreed between the Commission and HM Treasury covering the years from 2018-19 to 2020-21. This will allow the Commission to be confident of its funding and plan across a number of years. Use of these funds will be supervised by the Oversight Board.
In all its activities, the Commission will operate in line with the principles set out in Managing Public Money and will seek to obtain value for money from its expenditure.
The Commission has published a Corporate Plan for the period up to 2022-23 setting out its governance, objectives and programme of work.
The Commission is supported by a team of approximately 40-50 staff. It aims to ensure that its staff brings together a range of public and private sector skills and experience, relevant to the specific projects and workstreams it is undertaking. Its current staff comprises direct employees of the Commission, civil servants on loan from a number of relevant departments (including DfT, BEIS and Defra), and secondees from local authorities, regulators and the private sector.
Expert advisory panels
The National Infrastructure Commission has also set up two expert advisory panels, one analytical and one technical, which:
- Act as a sounding board for emerging thinking and methodologies and provide the Commission with a range of perspectives related to its work
- Expose documents to additional scrutiny prior to publication
- Advise on the quality, limitations, and appropriate uses of research carried out by, or on behalf of the Commission
- Advise on specific issues and problems
- Help the Commission to establish and maintain relationships with other experts and stakeholders, where appropriate.
The advisory panels are comprised of the following members: