The Treasury Committee has agreed to the
THE OFFICE OF GOVERNMENT COMMERCE
The Treasury Committee established a Sub-committee
in July 2001 to scrutinise the work of the various bodies for
which Treasury Ministers are accountable. The Sub-committee announced,
in October 2001, an inquiry into the Office of Government Commerce.
We heard oral evidence from Mr Peter Gershon, the Chief Executive
of the Office of Government Commerce on 7 November 2001, from
British Telecommunications plc and the British Chambers of Commerce
on 16 January 2002, and from the Department of Health and the
Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions on
23 January 2002. We also received a number of written submissions,
most of which we have published with this volume. We are grateful
for all the evidence we received, written and oral.
The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) was created
following the completion of a review of civil procurement in central
Government in 1999 by Mr Peter Gershon, who was then the Managing
Director of Marconi Electronic Systems and a member of the Board
of GEC plc. The review found that different Departments applied
different approaches and practices to the procurement of essentially
similar requirements. This lack of consistency meant that there
was a wide gap between best and worst practice in Government.
The review identified a number of weaknesses in Government procurement,
concerning organisation, process, people and skills, measurement,
and the contribution of the "centre" of Government.
To deal with these weaknesses, the review called for the creation
of a unified procurement organisation with the aim of providing
a greater sense of direction in procurement and to push best practice
in central civil Government.
The OGC was established in April 2000 with the appointment
of Mr Peter Gershon as Chief Executive and the bringing together
of the former Treasury units concerned with procurement policy,
practice and development with the Property Advisers to the Civil
Estate; the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency; and
the Buying Agency, three former Cabinet Office agencies.
We have focussed our inquiry on the OGC's role and work and the
progress being made in modernising Government procurement practice.
1 Ev 1, paras 2.1-2.4 Back
Ev 2, Ev 3, para 2.7 Back