Last edited 15 Jan 2021

Office of Government Commerce OGC

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) was an office of HM Treasury. However, following the credit crunch in 2007, OGC was absorbed into the Efficiency and Reform Group (ERG) within the Cabinet Office in May 2010 (, Whitehall shake-up in drive for efficiency, 15 June 2010).

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 This OGC guidance has now been archived, however, it is still cited in the new Government Construction Strategy and the revised Common Minimum Standards (to become the 'Construction Standards') and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:

A series of guides have been created by OGC, the Achieving Excellence suite which describes in detail the OGC gateway review procedure and OGC's preferred procurement routes:

High level guides:

Core guides:

Supporting guides:

Other Information:

NB OGC guidance is not currently being updated (for example it still refers to a 'planning supervisor' a role that has not existed for several years).

NB The damning 2011 House of Commons Treasury Select Committee report on PFI has found '...that PFI projects are significantly more expensive to fund over the life of a project and that there is no ...clear evidence of savings and benefits in other areas of PFI projects which are sufficient to offset this significantly higher cost of finance. It is difficult to see where this leaves private finance initiatives, however, there are more than 700 existing PFI projects, and as long as it continues to allow financing not to appear in government debt figures it is likely to remain a feature of procurement in the UK.

A Public procurement project plan is available from: Public project: outline work plan.

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