Picture courtesy of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Picture courtesy of the Olympic Delivery Authority.

Major Projects Review Group

Introducing Major Projects Review Group (MPRG)

MPRG history background

Her Majesty’s Treasury launched the Transforming Government Procurement (TGP) report in January 2007.   This sets out reforms to public sector procurement to meet the public’s demands for increasingly high quality  services, that are good value for money, delivered in a sustainable way.

TGP establishes the MPRG to improve the performance of major projects and advise Treasury Ministers whether projects should proceed.

What is MPRG?

MPRG is a scrutiny panel for major central government projects, sponsored by HMT. Its aim is to deliver better value for the taxpayer by challenging projects on deliverability, affordability and value for money:

Deliverability: The extent to which a project is deemed likely to deliver the expected benefits within the declared cost/time/performance envelope.

Affordability: The extent to which the level of expenditure and financial risk involved in a project can be taken on, given a parent department’s overall financial position both singly and in light of its other funding priorities.

Value for money: The optimum combination of whole-life cost and quality (or fitness for purpose) to meet the users’ requirement.

MPRG scrutiny panels are selected from a pool of government commercial experts. Treasury ministers’ approval is required for programmes whose whole-life costs are above departmental delegated limits. MPRG looks at a subset of these programmes, generally those which are highest risk, and advises Treasury Ministers on whether or not to grant approval to proceed to the next stage.

MPRG role

MPRG is an effective, enhanced review process of the departments’ most significant projects in the early stages. MPRG may advise Treasury Ministers that a project should stop. However, more generally, it will identify specific issues that need to be resolved before progressing further. In these cases, the department may be provided with recommendations on how to deal with issues and solve problems that the project may be facing.

Following government policy approval, projects will generally be subject to review by MPRG at the following stages:
a) When the business case is being developed - where there is maximum scope to influence the project’s outcome.

b) Before the project goes to tender - to test if the specification of the requirement is clear and unambiguous, all procurement options have been explored, and there is a realistic prospect of success.

c) Following receipt of bids but before award of the contract - to check that the contract decision is likely to deliver what is needed on time, within budget, and giving value for money.

MPRG Projects Selection criteria

Projects are selected for MPRG review by Treasury using the following criteria:

  • Projects whose whole life costs are above departmental financial delegated authority limits.
  • Projects that are high risk and complex in their materialisation and delivery of benefits.
  • Projects that are precedent setting.

The Office of Government Commerce (OGC) is an office of the Treasury, responsible for driving value for money improvements in public procurement and estates management in central Government.

Following the publication of the Transforming Government Procurement report in January 07, as mentioned above, a three - year strategy has been developed, which has established OGC’s strategic goals. OGC will - among other responsibilities -work with central government departments to deliver projects to time, quality and cost, realising benefits and increasing the likelihood of success of the Government’s largest and most complex projects.
The Major Projects Review Group is managed by the OGC.

Once projects are identified as being subject to MPRG assessment, OGC will:

  • Set up the timetable for the review
  • Appoint an assessment team to conduct the review
  • Establish the scope of the assessment
  • Lead the assessment 
  • Manage the overall review process

MPRG Process

MPRG pre-meeting: A panel of three to four MPRG members is invited to the pre-meeting. The project team is usually invited to give a short presentation about the project, after which the panel members discuss the draft report and plan the approach to the MPRG meeting.

MPRG main meeting: The MPRG panel meets the project SRO and/or the project director. The SRO introduces the project, after which the panel members discuss key issues and how they are being addressed by the project team. The meeting concludes with the panel agreeing the recommendation they will make for Treasury Ministers.

 MPRG recommendations: MPRG makes recommendations for Treasury Ministers to either:

  • Approve the project, 
  • Approve the project with conditions, or 
  • Halt the project's progress.

A Treasury Minister will write to the Project’s Responsible Minister with the decision.

Further Information
For further information on MPRG please contact OGC Helpdesk on: 0845000 4999.