Programme Delivery Unit 5 Midlands

Project overview

The Environment Agency and HM Government made a commitment to better protect 300,000 properties from flooding between 2015 and 2021. In 2017, the Environment Agency realised that it needed to change its ways of working with its supply chain in order to ensure that this outcome was met. Seven regional Programme Delivery Units (PDU) were introduced to ensure collaborative working, drive the programme and improve the outcomes. The PDU teams operated as a programme management team providing programme management office functions that enabled a focus on the delivery of outcomes. Environment Agency teams and suppliers were aligned and focused on the same end goals, working collaboratively to achieve the targets.

This enabled a check on the general practices of delivery among the suppliers, enabling a business change mindset to challenge inefficiencies and ensure a focus on the sustainability of outcomes. PDU delivery adhered to best practice and planning principles and the PDU’s operations team built up a culture of trust and honesty in which everyone had a voice.

This successful project was showcased at the Flood and Coast conference in 2018 with two presentations: “Right people, right skills, right place, right time”, and “Using a portfolio of projects to identify environmental opportunities”.

Our role

Binnies (through the “GB” joint venture between Binnies and Galliford Try) was successful in winning Programme Delivery Unit 5 in the Midlands region, which was the largest PDU region by target of properties to protect. We supplied three subject matter experts to fulfil core roles within the team, the senior supplier (coordinating the suppliers) and the environmental and external consents lead (EECL), coordinating and advising on environmental and planning constraints, who helped bring together and share a diverse team across different locations to meet the challenging “OM2”: the number of households moved out of any flood probability category to a lower category target. We also fulfilled the lead supplier role of the GB joint venture within the PDU. We implemented a ‘triage’ approach to programme management. We facilitated the building of a realistic programme and ensured environmental issues were fully considered and that each project was measured against the sustainability agenda, ensuring the most sustainable options were taken forward with the design optimising the use of sustainable local materials to reduce the carbon footprint.

The senior supplier role involved the closest ongoing liaison with the Environment Agency’s delivery teams, chairing and leading most of the PDU coordination meetings on programme and ways of working and providing leadership in business change.
The PDU5 team drove delivery in its region to raise the number of protected properties, and the Midlands region not only completed the highest number of all homes protected but Binnies also contributed the largest proportion within that region. This PDU was also the most successful team in organising work and setting up a collaborative style of working that built a cohesive team, was honest and open and achieved improved results. The triage method provided consistency in approach and involvement with project and risk register reviews including both the client and suppliers. The co-location provided the opportunity to review projects as a team and the client’s early access to suppliers improved the delivery timeline.

Binnies Digital Products and Services team closely supported PDU5 through the development of active portfolio level dashboards to help interrogate programme change in a portfolio of around 150 projects.


  • The client had a stretching target for the number of homes to better protect from flooding.
  • There was a disconnection between project needs and information flow.
  • Change in the programme was not visible and sufficiently scrutinised or understood.
  • Too many projects were in the programme that did not have a clear route to delivery.
  • Contractual flexibility to be nimble in delivery was not present.


  • PDU5 drove a cultural change to focus on project delivery at pace and a feeling of teamwork.
  • Clarity of responsibility for oversight was given to key people and projects, enhancing information flow.
  • A dashboard tool was created to aid visibility and scrutiny of change and its consequences.
  • A health check process was undertaken and support was given to projects that had delivery opportunity.
  • An overarching contract was provided for key suppliers to aid this flexibility.

Benefits and Achievements

Client Satisfaction

“Will, thanks for modelling great collaborative behaviours. I appreciate your focus on what’s best for programme delivery, and the support and leadership you provide to get everyone working together as one team to achieve the outcomes – at pace. The supplier perspective you bring to our leadership is invaluable.”

Toby Willis, Environment Agency

Award Winning

Showcased at the Flood and Coast conference in 2018


Provided greater certainty of delivery of OM2s through collaborative work, instilling the right behaviours.
Greater efficiency and integrated working using a co-located working environment, under one roof.

Developing an optimised programme that forecast delivery of the most OM2s of any PDU.

The class-leading tracker developed by Binnies Digital was shared with the other PDUs and was adapted to enable these PDUs to follow a very similar approach.

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