OGC chief defends review secrecy

4 August 2004
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05 August 2004 | David Arminas

Publishing Gateway Reviews could destroy their usefulness as a tool to keep major government projects on time and within budget, according to the new boss of the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

In an interview with SM, John Oughton, OGC chief executive, acknowledged pressure from MPs and select committees to open the reviews to public scrutiny in the name of accountability.

"They are done in a safe space where the review team and project leaders can have a genuine, honest conversation about how the project is going," he said.

"The more you open this to scrutiny, the more I think people will become defensive and get less value out of the process."

He defended the three-to-four day reviews as "pretty rigorous" as well as much liked. Their benefits were also appreciated by the project teams that undergo them.

But he said it was up to the Treasury and project team leaders whether to publish reviews that are independent assessments of a project's progress.

A report last month by the cross-party Department for Work and Pensions select committee recommended publishing reviews after it examined failures by the DWP and its supplier EDS to deliver a fully working IT system for the Child Support Agency.

Eurim, an independent all-party Parliament and industry lobby group, has called on all political parties to include publication of reviews in their manifestos.

Should Gateway reviews be published? Vote now on SM's online poll at www.supplymanagement.com


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