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Slimmer OGC to get more power


THE GOVERNMENT is to slash its procurement department, the Offi ce of Government Commerce (OGC), in half but give it more power to force government departments to take its advice.

OGC chief executive John Oughton announced the overhaul of his offi e last week.

The 410 OGC staff are expected to be reduced to 250 and it is likely that at least one of its four offi es at Edinburgh, Leeds, Norwich and London will close.

OGC will now focus solely on central government, excluding the NHS and the Ministry of Defence. Its involvement with improving local government procurement will cease with responsibility picked up by regional centres of excellence.

The department will be closely allied to the Treasury, advising its new Major Projects Review Group that will decide whether individual departments' major schemes can go ahead.

The Group will act as a double check on departmental pet schemes at three stages in their development:

when the business case is being developed to confirm that the scheme is needed and the verify the procurement process

before the project goes out to tender to test the specification and prospect of success

before the contract is awarded to check the preferred winner can deliver on time and on budget.

Commercial experts, probably from the private sector, will be called in to sit on the group.

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