Framework Demonstrates Stakeholder Engagement Can Save Millions
Mon, Nov 16 2015

Wednesday November 11, members from IAP2 Australasia and Consult Australia gathered for the launch of the PWC research into Valuing Better Engagement. 

This work was led by a working group of members from both Associations and provides a tool for you to use to demonstrate the true value of engagement, particularly in relation to major capital works.

Report urges stakeholder engagement on Australian infrastructure projects

Governments and infrastructure companies could be saving millions of dollars on both private and public projects by improving their use of stakeholder engagement, according to a framework released today by Consult Australia and PwC.

The report, Valuing Better Engagement, identifies the benefits of conducting project-specific stakeholder engagement and provides a high-level framework to assess potential cost savings.

Consult Australia CEO Megan Motto said the framework was created in response to the industry’s need for a practical and defensible tool to measure engagement benefits.

“Australia’s infrastructure projects could save millions of dollars by conducting more effective stakeholder engagement,” Ms Motto said.

“We recognise that traditionally, the quantification of benefits from engagement has been challenging and as a result we have seen many of Australia’s infrastructure projects overlook millions of dollars in savings, as well as the additional benefits engagement can deliver.

“Valuing Better Engagement provides project managers with a tool to calculate the savings and benefits of stakeholder engagement, allowing them to justify spend, and uses a realistic example to demonstrate how the framework is applied.”

Darren Black, Partner, Infrastructure Advisory with PwC said the information required to measure the quantifiable elements within the report is available for most major capital projects and the framework was developed from a project owner perspective to ensure it was realistic and relevant.

 “The report highlights the range of benefits stakeholder engagement can deliver from more accurate problem and solution definition, included reduced unplanned risk contingency pre-construction from improved risk pricing and risk mitigation resulting in unused risk contingency,” Mr Black said.

“Conservative by design, the framework focuses on identification and aggregation of avoidable cost and considers both the design and construct stages of the project lifecycle.”

The report uses a hypothetical but realistic example of an Australian infrastructure project in a brownfield site with an estimated capital cost of $250 million.

Using the framework, engagement for the example project yields a net benefit of $1.35 million, indicating Australia’s infrastructure projects could save hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars by using effective practices detailed in the report.

Leading infrastructure firms including AECOM, Aurecon, Arcadis, GHD, Jacobs, KBR and WSP | Parsons Brinkerhoff informed the framework’s development and the report is supported by the International Association for Public Participation Australasia.

The report is being launched at an event in Brisbane today with dozens of infrastructure firms attending to hear community engagement experts draw on their experience to discuss the value of engagement.

Be sure to download and read the document and use the formula’s included to build your case for engagement.

This work is supported by the Procurement Guide also available to provide guidance for those outsourcing their major engagement works.

Special thanks to Consult Australia and our members who were involved in this work.

We look forward to showcasing this report early next year around both Australia and New Zealand.