Last edited 27 May 2015

OGC gateway review 0

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) has now been absorbed into the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) within the Cabinet Office.

When it existed, the OGC produced a great deal of guidance about best practice in procurement and project management. This OGC guidance has now been archived, however, it is still cited in the new Government Construction Strategy and the revised Common Minimum Standards (to become the 'Construction Standards') and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. It is for this reason that the project plan for public projects within Designing Buildings Wiki follows the OGC gateway review process. See Public project: outline work plan.

The procurement routes preferred by the Government Construction Strategy and described by the OGC gateway review process are private finance initiative (PFI), prime contracting and design and build (see OGC Achieving Excellence Guide 6:Procurement and contract strategies). The Government Construction Strategy states that traditional procurement routes that separate design from construction should not be used unless it can be demonstrated that they offer better value for money.

The three preferred routes involve appointing a single integrated supply team (including designers, contractors, suppliers and perhaps facilities managers) after the project brief has been prepared, before design commences. This means that the main decision to invest (i.e. to appoint the integrated supply team), takes place before any designs have been prepared.

The OGC Gateway Review process offers a structure for projects following these procurement routes, based around a series of independent peer reviews carried out at key stages to verify that projects should be allowed to progress to the next stage.

These peer reviews, or 'gateway reviews' are commissioned on a confidential basis by the Senior Responsible Owner:

There are also two additional decision points specific to building projects:

In practice, some of the design work leading up to these decision points is likely to be carried out during the tender process (or bidding process on PFI projects).

Gateway review 0: strategic assessment is the first gateway. It is a programme review that takes place before it has been decided to proceed with a project, it

... investigates the direction and planned outcomes of the programme.... It makes a strategic assessment of the proposed project, its contribution to the business strategy, drivers and benefits and considers the high level options.

ref OGC introduction to procurement gateway 0

The review ensures:

  • the scope and purpose of the programme has been adequately researched
  • that there is a shared understanding of what is to be achieved by the key stakeholders
  • that it fits within the organisation’s overall policy or management strategy and priorities
  • that there is a realistic possibility of securing the resources needed for delivery
  • that any procurement takes account of prevailing government policies
  • the work strands will be organised (in sub-programmes, projects, etc) to deliver the overall programme objectives, and that the programme management structure, monitoring and resourcing is appropriate

ref OGC gateway process review 0: strategic assessment.

According to OGC the tasks specific to construction projects that should be undertaken before OGC Gateway Review 0: Strategic assessment are:

  • Possible need for project brought to attention of the investment decision maker (IDM) – the role responsible for making investment decisions on behalf of the business; typically the management board or similar senior group.
  • A senior manager in the business unit that requires the project, appointed by and reporting to IDM. The senior responsible owner (SRO) owns the project and is personally accountable for its success
  • The project sponsor (PS) should have an understanding of the culture business of the client department. SRO to provide terms of appointment for PS (project sponsor).
  • Experts in the relevant subject (for example, business strategy, legal, financial, construction, design, etc) to advise on options to meet the business need, including whether a construction solution will best meet the client’s needs.
  • The PS, in consultation with the SRO, should identify the stakeholders for the project. Stakeholders may be internal (eg Heads of Division, users etc) or external (eg members of the public as customers, pupils, patients).
  • Carry out a value management (VM) study to identify business/stakeholder needs, both short and long term. Set objectives, including Health & Safety, sustainability and design quality (using Design Quality Indicators – DQIs), agree priority and agree on performance indicators to show that these are being met. Note that the success of the project will be measured against objectives/KPIs.
  • Explore high level options for meeting the business need and assess in principle their affordability and achievability. Identify time related factors – that is, an optimum timespan for the life of the facility. Be prepared to revisit initial thinking on high level options, to ensure that all appropriate opportunities are given full consideration.
  • Carry out high level risk assessment and capture in a risk register; include the risk of the optimum timespan being incorrect.
  • Research previous similar projects and identify appropriate lessons to apply to the project.
  • Prepare project brief and outline PEP to inform strategy and control of project, including roles and responsibilities. (Note that responsibility for maintaining the PEP passes to the project manager when appointed.)
  • Establish strategic fit of project with key business objectives.
  • Approval to proceed.

ref Achieving Excellence Guide 3 - Project Procurement Lifecycle P9 and 10.

It can be appropriate to carry out more than one gateway 0 reviews.

For a detailed description of the sequence of tasks necessary on public projects, see the free work plan available from Designing Buildings Wiki: Public project: outline work plan. Gateway review 0 takes place during the work stage: Public project: business justification.

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