This website is being reviewed and updated. Some content may no longer reflect Government policy. All content has been archived and access to key documents will continue to be possible via the archived website; http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100503135839/http://www.ogc.gov.uk/index.asp

 
Picture courtesy of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

 
Picture courtesy of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Gateway Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Please click the text of a question below to view the response.

Purpose of OGC GatewayTM Reviews

1. What is the definition of 'procurement' within the OGC agenda and is it different from ‘acquisition’?

2. What’s the difference between a Peer Review for an IT enabled business change project and an OGC Gateway™ Review?

3. How does an OGC Gateway™ Review differ from an audit?

Which programmes and projects does it apply to?

4. At what Gateway can my project start the process?

5. What's the difference between a programme and a project?

6. Does the OGC Gateway Process apply to Programmes?

7. Is the Risk Potential Assessment (RPA) score the only factor that should be considered when deciding on the risk level of a project?

8. How much must a programme or project cost financially before it is subject to the OGC Gateway Process?

9. Is there a level of programme and project risk below which it does not have to be subject to an OGC Gateway Review?

10. Do Departments need to complete the Risk Potential Assessment (RPA) for low risk projects?

11. Does the OGC Gateway Process apply to IT enabled business change projects where the IT is delivered by in house development staff?

12. Does the OGC Gateway Process apply to pilot procurement projects?

13. Are projects procuring services/supplies within existing framework/Services/PFI/PPP contracts subject to OGC Gateway Reviews?

14. My department isn't part of central civil government.  What should I do?

The OGC Gateway Review

15. Who undertakes OGC Gateway Reviews?

16. Who initiates an OGC Gateway Review?

17. When should I have an OGC Gateway Review Planning Meeting?

18. Do I have to have my project reviewed at every OGC Gateway Review?

19. What is the meaning of the Red, Amber, Green (RAG) Status in an OGC Gateway report?

20. Are OGC Gateway reports confidential?

21. Who receives copies of OGC Gateway reports?

OGC Gateway Process support

22. What if a project/programme gets successive red reviews?

23. What support can OGC provide to help Departments carry out reviews of their low risk projects?

24. Who are the Centre of Excellence (CoE)/Departmental Gateway Coordinators (DGCs)?

The key changes that came into effect on 15 January 2004

25. Will the OGC Gateway Process include policy driven programmes?

26. Where have the sections for IT Projects/Property/Services gone to in the old PPM?

27. How does a repeatable OGC Gateway Review 0 work?

28. How do repeatable OGC Gateway Reviews 4 and 5 work?

29. What is an interim OGC Gateway Review?

30. Can we have combined OGC Gateway Reviews?

31. What do I do for strategic assessment relating to projects?

 

1. What is the definition of 'procurement' within the OGC agenda and is it different from ‘acquisition’?

OGC’s definition of ‘procurement’ has been taken from the Gershon Review of Civil Procurement in Central Government.

'Procurement' means the whole process of acquisition from third parties (including the logistical aspects) and covers goods, services and construction projects.  This process spans the whole life cycle from initial concept and definition of business needs through to the end of the useful life of an asset or end of a services contract.  Both conventionally funded and more innovative types (e.g. PFI/PPP) of funded projects are included. This definition is consistent with modern supply chain management practices and that used in the 1995 White Paper (CM 2840) Setting New Standards.  The process is not limited to the purchasing function in departments and is inherently multi-functional especially in large, complex and/or novel procurements.

There is no difference between ‘procurement’ and ‘acquisition’ from the OGC Gateway perspective.

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2.  What’s the difference between a Peer Review for an IT enabled business change project and an OGC Gateway Review?

The Peer Review and the OGC Gateway Review originated from two different reports.  OGC Gateway Reviews derived from the 1999 Gershon Report on Civil Procurement, which established OGC, and the Peer Review concept originated from the Successful IT report in 2000.

The OGC Gateway Process defines review points throughout the lifecycle of acquisition projects.  OGC Gateway Reviews are undertaken for procurement projects of all levels of risk as defined by the Risk Potential Assessment (RPA).  Requests for OGC Gateway Reviews are initiated by Senior Responsible Owners.  The OGC Gateway Process has incorporated the Successful IT report recommendation for peer reviews.

Additional interim OGC Gateway Reviews may sometimes be carried out during the life of a procurement project.  For a high risk project that has a long time span between OGC Gateway Reviews (e.g. between OGC Gateway Reviews 2 and 3 for a complex PPP project), an additional OGC Gateway Review - labelled 2a - may be arranged before a significant decision point (e.g. the announcement of a preferred supplier).

Additional reviews may also be beneficial where added assurance is needed or where there are specific areas of concern. These reviews are often referred to as Peer Reviews.   Such Peer Reviews are completely independent of the OGC Gateway Process and the findings of Peer Reviews have no bearing on subsequent OGC Gateway Reviews.  The OGC Gateway Operations Team are not involved in Peer Reviews but projects may wish to seek assistance from elsewhere within OGC.

For more information on the help available from OGC, contact the OGC Service Desk on 0845 000 4999 or GTN 3040 4999.

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3. How does an OGC Gateway Review differ from an audit?

An OGC Gateway Review is held before key decision points in the lifecycle of a procurement project. The review teams are made up of independent experienced practitioners who bring their prior knowledge and skills to bear to identify the key issues that need to be addressed for the project to succeed. The review criteria are established and published in a set of workbooks available on OGC's website. The work of an OGC Gateway Review team is for the project SRO, and ownership of the review report and recommendations lies with the SRO. An OGC Gateway Review is carried out over a period of 4-5 days at the most with the review report presented and discussed with the SRO before the review team leaves the client premises. 

Internal Audit primarily provides an independent and objective opinion to the Accounting Officer on risk management, control and governance, by measuring and evaluating their effectiveness in achieving an organisation's agreed objectives. In most government bodies Internal Audit reports go directly to the Accounting Officer (Chief Executive). In order for Internal Audit to provide the Accounting Officer with an objective opinion, an audit strategy is developed in consultation with, and subject to approval by the Chief Executive and the Audit Committee. The audit plan is circulated to senior members of the organisation and advance notice will be given prior to the commencement of a review. Under normal circumstances Terms of Reference will be produced for each audit assignment and these will be discussed and agreed with management. The views and opinions of management will be obtained at the end of each review and the final report will contain an agreed action plan, which will contain the name of the officer responsible for each recommendation and a target date for full implementation.

Treasury Assurance, Control and Risk Team and OGC (Gateway Operations team) have been working together with a group of Internal Auditors and Department Gateway Coordinators to help achieve a better understanding of the separate roles and departmental relationships. The resulting guidance entitled Building a Cooperative Assurance Relationship between Internal Audit, Departmental Gateway Coordinators and Centres of Excellence is attached.

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4. At what Gateway can my project start the process?

Projects enter the OGC Gateway process at OGC Gateway review 1 (Business justification) or, exceptionally, at OGC Gateway Review 2 (Procurement strategy). Projects that are presented for a first review at Gate 3 or later will not be accepted for an OGC Gateway review and will be referred back to your Centre of Excellence or Departmental Gateway Coordinator to action a healthcheck.

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5. What's the difference between a programme and a project?

A project is a particular way of managing activities to deliver specific products over a specified period of time and within defined cost and resource constraints.  A programme is a management framework for coordinating related projects and workstreams to deliver strategic outcomes and benefits over timescales that are often less well defined.

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6. Does the OGC Gateway Process apply to programmes?

Yes. OGC Gateway Review 0 (Strategic assessment) is designed to apply at the start of an acquisition programme and may be repeated at subsequent key decision points. OGC Gateway Review 0 confirms that the appropriate project structure is in place and that interdependencies have been recognised. OGC Gateway Reviews 1 to 5 apply to each of the procurement projects within the programme. A repeat OGC Gateway Review 0 later in the life of a programme can be helpful to re-visit and confirm the business case, the management of the programme risks and interactions between the projects and the delivery of benefits for the programme as a whole.

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7. Is the Risk Potential Assessment (RPA) score the only factor that should be considered when deciding on the risk level of a project?

No. The Risk Potential Assessment (RPA) score serves as a very good indicator of the risk associated with the project. However, the project’s Senior Responsible Owner will wish to consider whether there are any other additional risk factors relevant to the project that need to be taken into account. An agreed risk level (low, medium or high) will be determined by your Centre of Excellence/Departmental Gateway Coordinator in conjunction with the Gateway Operations team.

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8. How much must a programme or project cost financially before it is subject to the OGC Gateway Process? 

There is no minimum level.  All acquisition programmes and procurement projects are subject to the OGC Gateway Process.  Financial value is only one of the factors to consider when deciding on the level of risk faced by a programme or project.  This is recognised within the Risk Potential Assessment.  The fact that a programme or project environment has been deemed appropriate indicates that there is uniqueness to the programme or project, which, in turn, indicates a level of inherent risk.  For example, the programme or project could be of low cost but, if unsuccessful, could have a major impact upon staff morale within an organisation.  OGC Gateway Reviews are scaleable.  Acquisition programmes and procurement projects should, therefore, receive a level of OGC Gateway Review appropriate to the level of risk associated.

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9. Is there a level of programme or project risk below which it does not have to be subject to an OGC Gateway Review? 

Departments should use the RPA to determine the risk level of their programmes and projects and to understand the nature of the risks associated with them in a structured and systematic way. Programmes or projects classified as low risk that score in the range 20 to 30 are likely to contain significant procurements. Departments may decide on a deminimis cut off point below which an OGC Gateway Review is not needed but must do so on the basis of a full understanding of the implications and be accountable for their action.

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10. Do Departments need to complete the Risk Potential Assessment (RPA) for low risk projects?

Yes, since the issues identified in the RPA highlight key risk management issues.  The RPA must be completed for each procurement project to determine the level of an OGC Gateway Review appropriate for that project.  If the project scores 31 or over, and is therefore a medium or high risk project, the RPA must be forwarded to the Centre of Excellence/Departmental Gateway Coordinator who will send to the OGC Gateway Operations Team (email: gateway.helpdesk@ogc.gsi.gov.uk) once the requirement for an OGC Gateway Review has been established.

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11. Does the OGC Gateway Process apply to IT-enabled business change projects where the IT is delivered by in house development staff?

The OGC Gateway Process was originally set up to help procurement projects that involve external (actual) expenditure. However, even on projects being "developed in house", there would normally be additional expenditure on hardware, software, licensing, increased network capacity, consultancy support, etc, which means that the OGC Gateway Process would apply. At OGC Gateway Review 1 (Business justification), the procurement options may be unclear or not finalised, so it is appropriate to employ the OGC Gateway Process, given that key risks surrounding management of change, resourcing, governance, commitment of key stakeholders, etc still remain. The risk analysis based on the OGC Risk Potential Assessment would, of course, indicate whether to involve OGC at OGC Gateway Review 1, or whether it is low risk and carried out by in house staff (and of course it is arguable that "in house developments/solutions" are lower risk given that the client has to retain financial, technical and managerial risks compared to outsourced deals).

To summarise,

  • Technically non-procurement activities are out of the scope of OGC Gateway Process but this takes a very narrow view of the benefits that can arise from an OGC Gateway Review (assurance to the SRO that the project likely to be successful or, if not, remedial actions proposed).  
  • OGC Gateway Reviews are carried out at OGC Gateway Review 1 when the procurement route has not been confirmed (and this is in line with current thinking that even "policy decisions" need to be thought through to successful delivery).

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12. Does the OGC Gateway Process apply to pilot procurement projects? 

Yes.  Pilot procurement projects have the same characteristics as other procurement projects.  The fact that a pilot is being managed within a project structure itself indicates that there is a unique environment, which, in turn, indicates a level of inherent risk.  An RPA should be completed in the usual way to determine the risk associated with the project and, in the case of medium or high risk score, should be submitted to the Gateway Operations team through the Centre of Excellence/Departmental Gateway Coordinator.

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13. Are projects procuring services/supplies within existing framework/Services/PFI/PPP contracts subject to OGC Gateway Reviews?

Yes. Projects utilising existing contractual arrangements will still benefit from the added value provided by the OGC Gateway Process in that the majority of the issues addressed by the OGC Gateway Process will still apply. In these cases OGC Gateway Reviews 2 and 3 may be scaled down where the procurement strategy is largely predetermined and standard procedures exist for the take on of new work packages. OGC Gateway Review 4 as reviews startup operability as usual and OGC Gateway Review 5 the results achieved and lessons learnt. There is evidence that anything less than a well-disciplined use of framework contracts with sound management processes akin to any project leads these contracts to becoming a leaky sieve for government and a source of high margins to suppliers. With the growth of framework arrangements it is mandatory for such call offs in central civil government to be exposed to the appropriate level of OGC Gateway Review.

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14. My department isn't part of central civil government, what should I do?

Firstly if your organisation is an Agency or NDPB then you, as part of your parent department within central civil government, are subject to the OGC Gateway Process.

Secondly if your organisation is clearly not part of central civil government then your head/chief executive or permanent secretary equivalent may decide to mandate it for you since it represents existing government best practice. It may be considered appropriate for OGC to provide Gateway Service to other parts of the public sector and this would need to be discussed at top of the office level.  There are a number of criteria that need to be satisfied:

  • top management support
  • a formal approach to OGC’s chief executive. The OGC Gateway team can help put the case together
  • you must provide sufficient staff to the government pool to cover the resourcing of your procurement reviews by others. A pay as you go service is not available
  • your staff will need to be trained and accredited as reviewers
  • you need to assign a Gateway Coordinator to administer your reviews, the process roll out to low, medium and high risk projects, your staff provision and the communications and training programme in house
  • if you have a large portfolio of reviews you should discuss this with the OGC Gateway team and arrive at a joint recommendation on the way forward.

The OGC Gateway team will help explain the above, then it’s up to you, especially gaining the level of support at the top which this needs.

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15. Who undertakes OGC Gateway Reviews?

High risk (RPA Score 41 or more) - Undertaken by a Review Team Leader and members nominated by the OGC Gateway Operations team, and are independent of the department. 

Medium risk (RPA Score 31-40) - Undertaken by a Review Team Leader nominated by the OGC Gateway Operations team and independent of the department.  The team members are provided by the department and are independent of the project.

Low risk (RPA score less than 31) - Undertaken by a team managed and resourced from within the sponsoring department and independent of the project.

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16. Who initiates an OGC Gateway Review?

The responsibility for initiating an OGC Gateway Review rests with the Senior Responsible Owner of the programme or project. All programmes/projects must have a completed Risk Potential Assessment (RPA), which is submitted to your Centre of Excellence (CoE) or Departmental Gateway Coordinator who will send it the OGC Gateway Directorate at gateway.helpdesk@ogc.gsi.gov.uk once a requirement for an OGC Gateway Review is established. On receipt of the RPA, the OGC Gateway Operations team will contact the Project Manager to arrange an initial assessment meeting with a Better Projects Gateway Project Director (BPD). The purpose of the assessment meeting is to agree the risk level of the project (low, medium or high), to enable the BPD to gain an understanding of the programme/project and to establish readiness for an OGC Gateway Review. 8 weeks notice is required following the assessment meeting in order to assemble a review team and hold the necessary prior Planning Meeting. The procedure for initiating subsequent reviews on a programme or project is the same, namely an updated RPA is submitted to your CoE/DGC who forward to the OGC Gateway Operations team. The revised RPA may indicate a change to the risk level associated with the programme or project and therefore a change to subsequent handling within the OGC Gateway Process. In that eventuality the OGC Gateway Operations team will discuss the way forward with the SRO.

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17. When should I have an OGC Gateway Review Planning Meeting?

The OGC Gateway Review Planning Meeting has, following departmental support, been established as essential to the delivery of OGC Gateway Reviews of high risk procurement projects. It is designed as a facilitated workshop at which the Senior Responsible Owner, review team and project team jointly plan their approach to the review. The planning meeting is envisaged as a mandatory part of all new reviews of high risk projects and is highly recommended for medium risk projects. In the case of medium risk projects a shorter half-day planning workshop is usually more appropriate. The value of these planning meetings is such that only the BPD for the project has the authority to modify this policy. The circumstances for this may, for example, include a sequence of OGC Gateway Reviews in which the review teams are unchanged and facilitation of the planning meeting is not needed.

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18. Do I have to have my project reviewed at every OGC Gateway Review?

Yes.  The OGC Gateway Process recommends earliest and continued intervention to increase the likelihood of success.

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19. What is the meaning of the Red, Amber, Green (RAG) Status in an OGC Gateway report?

The OGC Supervisory Board has asked all OGC Gateway Review Teams to agree a RAG status for inclusion in the report at the end of each OGC Gateway Review.  The definitions of the statuses are:

Red - To achieve success the programme or project should take remedial action immediately. It means ‘fix the key problems fast’, not ‘stop the project’.
Amber - The programme or project should go forward with actions on recommendations to be carried out before the next OGC Gateway Review.
Green - the programme or project is on target to succeed but may benefit from the uptake of the recommendations.

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20. Are Gateway reports confidential?

An OGC Gateway Review is conducted on a confidential basis for the SRO and ownership of the report rests with the SRO.  This approach promotes an open and honest exchange between the programme/project and review teams delivering maximum added value.  OGC Gateway Operations team receives copies of review reports in order to identify and disseminate generic lessons learned.

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21. Who receives copies of OGC Gateway reports? 

The Review Team Leader (RTL) delivers the report to the SRO and ownership of the report rests with the SRO. The OGC Gateway Operations team receives copies of review reports in order to identify and disseminate generic lessons learned.

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22 . What if a project or programme gets successive red reviews?

Since April 2003 successive red reviews trigger a letter from the Chief Executive of the OGC to the Permanent Secretary of the department responsible. The letter, in particular, highlights the importance of identifying and addressing risks to successful delivery at the earliest possible stage. In this way the Gateway process provides a strong mechanism which departments can be alerted at the most senior levels to significant risk requiring immediate action.

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23. What support can OGC provide to help Departments carry out reviews of their low risk projects?

For people who need to run low risk reviews currently OGC runs a one-day workshop entitled "Preparing for an OGC Gateway Review", through our training partner Skillbase. This workshop, which is chargeable, is designed to help equip departmental staff to carry out reviews of their low risk projects and to apply to serve as review team members of reviews of medium risk projects. An OGC Better Projects Gateway Director will act as co-facilitator for the first two workshops run for a department. The aim will be for the department to provide a shadow co-facilitator who can take on the role of co-facilitator after the first two workshops thereby transferring and improving departmental knowledge of the OGC Gateway Process. Responsibility for the quality of the workshop and ownership of the materials used will remain with the OGC Gateway Operations team and the Skillbase team will continue to act as lead facilitator.

The workshop may be booked by contacting Skillbase on 02392 239 019 or e-mail to gateway.workshop@skillbase.com.

The OGC Gateway Operations team recognise the need for more comprehensive help and have produced the Low Risk Toolkit to help low risk review teams face when setting up and conducting a review. For a copy please contact the OGC Service Desk.

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24. Who are the Centre of Excellence(CoE) and Departmental Gateway Coordinators (DGCs)?

The OGC Gateway Operations team is working with nominated co-ordinators to embed the OGC Gateway Process in Departments.  This is an important role that involves identifying programmes/projects for review, coordinating the despatch of RPAs to OGC, managing the departmental process for the review of low risk programmes/projects, helping to identify review team leaders and members, and acting as a local departmental expert on OGC Gateway Process issues.  To find out who the coordinator is for your department contact the OGC Service Desk (e-mail: servicedesk@ogc.gsi.gov.uk).

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25. Will this include policy driven programmes?

Yes.  The OGC Gateway Process now maps onto the policy/delivery lifecycle through support for OGC Gateway Reviews of acquisition programmes.  OGC Gateway Review 0 has been revised and repositioned as a repeatable programme level review.  Optionally, OGC Gateway Review 0 can also be applied to non-acquisition programmes.

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26. Where have the sections for IT Projects/Property/Services gone to in the old PPM? 

The RPA (the new PPM replacement) provides one assessment sheet covering all acquisition programmes and projects at all OGC Gateway Reviews. This is recognition of the fact that fewer programmes and projects are confined to one sector only.  It is common to find programmes and projects with elements of IT, service, and workspace acquisition all within a large change programme.

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27. How does a repeatable OGC Gateway Review 0 work?

OGC Gateway Review 0 is applied at the start-up of a programme and repeated at critical points:

  • at scheduled milestones such as the completion of a set of projects in the programme portfolio
  • when there is a significant change to the desired outcomes
  • when the way outcomes are delivered must change (perhaps as a result of government changes), or when it becomes apparent that the programme will not provide the necessary outcomes and needs to be reshaped
  • when the programme’s sponsors have concerns about the programme’s effectiveness
  • to learn lessons to transfer to other programmes when a substantial amount of successful delivery has taken place.
    The intention is to use an OGC Gateway Review 0 at relevant decision points.

Subsequent OGC Gateway Reviews 0 revisit the same questions to confirm that the main stakeholders have a common understanding of desired outcomes and that the programme is likely to achieve them.

The introductory sections of the OGC Gateway Review 0 workbook provide more detail including examples of when repeat reviews linked to decision points may occur.

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28. How do repeatable OGC Gateway Reviews 4 and 5 work?

OGC Gateway Review 4 occurs when a product/system/building is implemented in phases.
OGC Gateway Review 5 occurs when the benefits are realised over a long period of time.  Repeated OGC Gateway Reviews 5 can also be used to check for continuing need for the service, continuing and improving value for money, and continuing robust contract management arrangements.

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29. What is an interim OGC Gateway Review?

This is when a review is conducted between two major OGC Gateway Reviews e.g. between OGC Gateway Review 2 and 3, where there are interim decision points e.g. one at preferred bidder stage and the other at best and final offers.  For property/construction projects between OGC Gateway Reviews 3 and 4 the interim OGC Gateway Reviews could be at: outline design and detailed design.

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30. Can we have combined OGC Gateway Reviews?

Combined OGC Gateway Reviews are not supported (eg. a combined OGC Gateway Review 1 and 2).  Procurement projects will be reviewed at the decision point reached in the lifecycle of the particular project.  So a project about to issue an OJEU notice will be reviewed at OGC Gateway Review 2.   Note that in line with the Supervisory Board decision, first reviews of procurement projects at OGC Gateway Review 3 or later will no longer be supported due to the diluted benefit of applying the OGC Gateway Process brand.

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31. What do I do for strategic assessment relating to projects?

OGC Gateway Review 1 will be the first review for procurement projects.  The workbook has been structured to include a section on the wider strategic context.

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