Project Assurance

Presenting the NSW Government with independent oversight of NSW’s infrastructure program

The magnitude of the State’s ambitious infrastructure program means that a focus on ensuring major projects are delivered in a timely and cost-efficient way is critical. To ensure there is better oversight of the state's infrastructure program, the NSW Government has implemented the Infrastructure Investor Assurance Framework (IIAF).

The IIAF applies to capital projects with a value of $10 million and above, being developed or delivered by General Government agencies and Government Businesses.

The Framework consists of three pillars to check that projects are on-track. These include:

  • project monitoring
  • regular project reporting
  • expert and independent Gateway Reviews and Health Checks.

This tiered, risk-based approach to evaluating projects ensures that the focus is on the most important and complex projects. The process is confidential to each project, and advice is provided to the NSW Government, as the investor, through regular reporting. This approach enables “red flags” to be raised and interventions ordered in time to ensure projects are delivered on-time, on-budget, and in accordance with the NSW Government’s objectives.

The IIAF is the applicable Gateway Coordination Framework under NSW Gateway Policy, administered by NSW Treasury.

Questions or comments?

For more information on project assurance managed by Infrastructure NSW, please contact assurance@infrastructure.nsw.gov.au.

Tiered Approach

Tiered approach

Elements of Investor Assurance

Elements of Investor Assurance

Through the investor assurance process INSW can provide independent advice to delivery agencies and report to Cabinet and the Minister for Infrastructure, ensuring the Government’s key infrastructure projects across NSW are delivered on time, on budget and in accordance with government objectives.

There are three main components to the independent investor assurance process are:

  • Gateway Reviews, Health Checks and Deep Dive Reviews
  • Regular project reporting based on inputs provided by delivery agencies
  • Monitoring conducted by Infrastructure NSW.

Gateway Reviews and Health Checks

Infrastructure NSW’s Infrastructure Investor Assurance Framework (IIAF) is a Gateway Coordination Agency (GCA) framework for capital projects in terms of the NSW Gateway Policy.

The IIAF Gateway Review process provides for a series of short, focused, independent expert reviews, held at key decision points in a project’s lifecycle. The Gateway Reviews are appraisals of infrastructure projects, that highlight risks and issues, which if not addressed may threaten successful delivery.

Gateway Reviews are supported by periodic Health Checks which assist in identifying issues which may emerge between decision points. Health Checks will be carried out, when required, by an independent team of experienced practitioners (industry experts including from the private sector), appointed by Infrastructure NSW.

Deep Dive Reviews are like Health Checks but focus on a specific issue or limited terms of reference rather than the full range of issues normally considered at a Health Check.

Gateway Reviews are conducted by independent experienced practitioners, appointed by Infrastructure NSW to form a Review Team. Practitioners appointed to a Review Team are selected according to each project / program’s needs, and to provide a mix of skills, knowledge and experience. The independence of the Review Team from the project together with the independence of Infrastructure NSW is the key to delivering objective, high quality reviews and review Reports.

During a Gateway Review, the Review Team interview key stakeholders and review relevant documents. This enables the independent review team to identify project risks and provide recommendations on how these should be addressed, as well as identify opportunities to complement delivery of a project or program.

Gateway Review requirements for projects under the IIAF are proportionate to their Tier level:

  • Tier 1 – High Profile / High Risk projects must pass through all Gates
  • Tier 2 projects must pass Gate 0 (Project Justification), Gate 1 (Strategic Assessment, and Gate 2 (Business Case)
  • Tier 3 projects must pass Gate 0 (Project Justification)
  • Tier 4 projects (lowest risk) do not require Gateway Reviews.

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Project Lifecycle Assurance

Health Checks are independent reviews conducted as required to identify/resolve issues which arise at a point in time between Gateway Reviews, and are also compulsory for Tier 1 – High Profile / High Risk projects every six months during the delivery stage.

For more information on reviews, please see the Treasury website.

Regular Project Reporting

Infrastructure NSW prepares regular project reports which record and assess project implementation against:

  • time
  • cost
  • quality
  • risks and impediments to project development/delivery.

Regular project reporting informs routine updates provided to senior NSW Government stakeholders (including Cabinet), with greater analysis and strategic advice provided for Tier 1 – High Profile / High Risk projects.

To support regular project reporting, delivery agencies provide Infrastructure NSW with timely and comprehensive project information, and mitigation plans for red-flag issues. Reports are lodged by a delivery agency after Secretary or delegated executive officer approval is given.

Regular project reporting takes place monthly for Tier 1 – High Profile / High Risk projects, and quarterly for Tier 2 and Tier 3 projects.

Project Monitoring

Infrastructure NSW continuously monitors project status and findings of Gateway Reviews and Health Checks (including Close-out Plans). This includes:

  • undertaking necessary steps to verify information provided by delivery agencies or prepared by Review Teams
  • seeking direct input from Expert Reviewers
  • undertaking independent analysis and developing advice on key risks, recommended corrective actions and mitigation strategies.

Gateway Reviews, Health Checks and Deep Dive Reviews are conducted Reviews are conducted in accordance with the Gateway Review Toolkit and Reviewer Workbooks.

The Infrastructure Investor Assurance Framework (IIAF) provides further detail on the processes.

Infrastructure NSW develops the Terms of Reference for a Review in consultation with the responsible delivery agency and key stakeholders. The Terms of Reference are used to guide the selection of appropriate reviewers and are provided to reviewers in advance of the Review.

The governance and oversight of a project/program ordinarily includes three major parties: a ‘sponsor’, ‘deliverer’ and ‘asset owner/manager or operator’. These parties may come from within the same organisation.

Good governance and project/program assurance calls for a single individual, the Senior Responsible Officer (SRO), as the point of accountability and strategic responsibility. The SRO may come from within the ‘sponsor’, ‘deliverer’ or ‘asset manager/owner or operator’ organisation.

To enable a successful Review to take place, the delivery agency must identify each of the parties performing the role of ‘sponsor’, ‘deliverer’ and ‘asset owner/manager or operator’, as well as the individual SRO. It is essential that the delivery agency’s SRO participates in the Gateway Review process.

Reviews are conducted by highly experienced independent Review Teams where independent refers to the individuals being independent of a delivery agency and a project team. The review team is selected so that it possesses the skills, capability and experience to enable it to provide relevant assessment and advice.

For Tier 1 – High Profile/High Risk projects, independent reviewers forming the Review Team do not include individuals that are currently employed by the NSW Government and include high profile industry experts. For Tier 2 and 3 projects, independent reviewers forming the Review Team can include individuals currently employed with the NSW Government if they are independent of the delivery agency and project team.

Review Teams are typically comprised of a Review Team Leader (RTL) and at least one Review Team Member (RTM).

Review Team Leader (RTL)

The RTL is tasked with the overall responsibility for the delivery and successful outcome of the Gateway Review. The RTL leads the Gateway process throughout the Planning Meeting and the Gateway Review; guiding the Review Team through to the successful delivery of the final report. 

Review Team Member (RTM)

A RTM is selected because of their background, experience and specialist skills applicable to a particular project or program. A RTM works with the RTL and other RTMs to collect and evaluate evidence provided by the Project Team (documentation and stakeholder interviews) in accordance with the Review Terms of Reference and the relevant Review Workbook. A RTM typically provides input into the final report, including its recommendations.

Become a Reviewer

To express your interest in becoming a Reviewer, please contact assurance@infrastructure.nsw.gov.au to discuss next steps and specific requirements.

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