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New tools aim to improve gov't IT procurement

The Office of Government Commerce hopes two new tools will help the government improve its record on large-scale projects, while helping the private sector to contribute
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

The Office of Government Commerce has introduced two new tools that it hopes will help improve the government's record on large-scale projects, while helping the private sector to contribute.

The tools were released on Friday, according to a statement from the OGC, an independent oversight organisation that helps the government run IT projects.

The first is a procurement 'pre-qualification tool' (PQT), which the OGC said was mainly aimed at the whole process of government IT procurement. The tool "looks to strengthen the likelihood of achieving positive outcomes, providing better value for money for the taxpayer", the OGC said in a statement.

The second is a 'joint statement of intent' (JSI) that the OGC said has been created to "reflect the overriding objectives and requirements of the programme or project".

The PQT is effectively a self-assessment tool to help those bearing responsibility for the success of a project to draw up a way to quantify the success of a project before the project has started. It will do this "by focusing on key areas to be addressed to ensure a successful procurement and delivery of outcomes", the OGC said.

The aim of the PQT and JSI is to get around one of the main issues that has been raised by government-led projects in the past, which is the inability to predict the failure of some projects.

As Nigel Smith, OGC's chief executive, said in a statement: "Every effort must be taken by those working in public-sector procurement to ensure they get it right from the outset, and mitigate any risks in achieving desired outcomes."

John Higgins, the director general of technology trade association Intellect, said in a statement that the important issue now was to start using the tools in upcoming IT projects as quickly as possible. "The challenge is now to get these tools embedded into the processes of the suppliers and government departments," he said.

The tools can be downloaded from the OGC website as a PDF file.

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