Gateway on track to deliver savings

The Gateway Review process for central government procurement projects is on track to deliver its promised £500m cost savings,...

The Gateway Review process for central government procurement projects is on track to deliver its promised £500m cost savings, according to the Office of Government Commerce (OGC).

The review process, which was also set up to prevent further high-profile government IT disasters like those at the Passport Agency, the Probation Service and the Immigration service, is beginning to deliver on its promise.

Ian Glenday, Gateway programme director at the OGC said, "We are doing an audit now to demonstrate that it is producing results." The OGC will release information on the Gateway Review's progress in the next two to three months, he added.

Launched in February last year, the process is designed to shave £500m off the cost of government procurement on a range of major projects, including IT, by 2003.

Speaking at last week's annual OGC IT Conference in central London, Glenday highlighted the importance of proving Gateway Review cost savings. He said, "Unless we can demonstrate real value for money, the programme has no future. We are not in the business of just creating a job for ourselves."

The success of the scheme is crucial to the OGC, which was launched in 2000 with a view to streamlining central government procurement. To date, 160 Gateway Reviews have been performed on 104 projects, including the Commonwealth Games in Manchester later this year.

Last year the OGC introduced a new project testing technique called Gate Zero to the process. Gate Zero is an assessment technique applied at the start of a programme or project and is designed to confirm that the scheme has been established with appropriate management structures, resources and stakeholder support. Officials at the OGC claim that Gate Zero helps to keep Gateway projects in line with Government strategy.

By its own admission, the Government's track record when it comes to implementing major IT projects is patchy. In a pre-recorded message to the OGC IT conference, treasury minister Andrew Smith said, "Our track record has not always been as good as it could be." The Immigration and Nationality Directorate, Passport Office and Benefits Agency all suffered from poorly procured and badly designed systems, he added.

At least the Gateway Reviews appear to have sufficient political support to deliver results. Smith said that £18bn of government investment has already been reviewed. He said, "We believe the scheme has the potential to deliver significant benefits in the IT procurement process."

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