HC Deb 19 December 2000 vol 360 cc161-2W
Mrs. Lawrence

To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if the review of the Office of Government Commerce, including the quinquennial reviews of the Central Computer and Telecommunications Agency and Property Advisers to the Civil Estate, has been completed; and if he will make a statement. [143687]

Mr. Andrew Smith

The review of OGC which I announced on 12 July 2000,Official Report, column 595W, which also encompassed the quinquennial reviews of CCTA and PACE due by the end of this year, has now been completed, and its recommendations have been agreed by Ministers after endorsement by the OGC's Supervisory Board.

The objective of the review was to recommend an organisational structure which would best align the resources of OGC and its three executive agencies— CCTA, PACE and The Buying Agency (TBA)—to deliver successfully its vision and strategies. It involved an extensive consultation with Departments and other customers, as well as with suppliers and other stakeholders including staff and trade unions. The review proposes a more cohesive organisation, with a greater focus and capability for working with Departments to achieve substantial value for money improvements in the Government's procurement budget.

From 1 April 2001, OGC will incorporate PACE and a number of CCTA functions, to provide a more unified organisation, working to a common purpose. In addition, there will be a single trading fund, and executive agency of OGC, based on TBA together with the catalogue and managed services activities in CCTA. This will mean ending the executive agency status of CCTA and PACE, and incorporating some CCTA functions within TBA. To reflect this, subject to the laying of the necessary resolutions before this House, TBA's name will be changed to "OGC buying.solutions" from 1 April 2001.

The result will be a more efficient and effective organisation which, while building on current strengths, will add and support new capabilities to meet Ministers' and Departments' requirements. It will also have the flexibility to respond to new requirements. This more unified organisation will improve OGC's ability to lead and support the procurement community.

TBA's financial year, which currently runs from 1 January until 31 December, is being brought into line with OGC. For this year only, TBA will operate an extended 15 month accounting period ending on 31 March 2001. Thereafter, they will operate on an April to March financial year. The Agency's financial target has been extended to cover the 15 month period, and it will be expected to achieve a return on capital employed at an annual rate of 8 per cent. over the full 15 month period.

I have arranged for copies of the review to be placed in the Library of the House, and the review is also available on the OGC website www.ogc.gov.uk.