Last edited 04 Nov 2020

Achieving Excellence

Achieving Excellence (AE) was a government initiative launched in March 1999 by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) following a series of cost and time overruns on high-profile construction projects. It was intended to improve the performance of government departments, as well as their executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies.

OGC stated, 'Through the Achieving Excellence intitative, central government clients commit to maximise by continuous improvement, the efficiency, effectiveness and value for money of their procurement of new works, maintenance and refurbishment.'

Achieving Excellence set out a route map for government to follow when acting as a construction client to achieve better whole-life value. The guidance was based on the principles of delivering value for money and selecting the ‘…optimum combination of whole-life cost and quality to meet the user's requirement’ rather than simply the lowest cost option.

It proposed:

A suite of guidance was produced by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) describing in detail the OGC's preferred procurement routes and supplemented in June 2000 by ‘Achieving Sustainability in Construction Procurement’, a the three-year action plan for sustainable development.

High level guides:

Core guides:

Supporting guides:

Supplementary documents:

Following the credit crunch in 2007, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) was absorbed into the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) within the Cabinet Office in 2010 (ref, and all of its guidance was archived. The Achieving Excellence guidance is no longer updated, however it remains available in the national archive, it is cited in the Government Construction Strategy and in the Common Minimum Standards and links are still provided from government websites such as the Major Projects Authority. The OGC gateway review process still provides one of the best and most comprehensive sets of guidance for public projects.

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