News exclusive! OGC staff survey reveals an organisation in crisis

The Cabinet Office staff survey results haven't exactly been shouted from the rooftops since they came out last week.  (Week before Christmas - great time to bury bad news).

And it's not surprising.  While the overall results weren't particularly positive, those for OGC (the Office of Government Commerce - the central body which had oversight of public procurement in the UK) were truly dreadful.  The survey was conducted in October, some 4 months after OGC was moved from Treasury to Cabinet Office, and the figures we're quoting here exclude Buying Solutions.

I would add one note of caution; I've talked to a few people over the last two weeks, and I sense that in some areas of activity involving OGC staff, things are becoming a little clearer.  So this study may have actually hit at a low point of inflexion.

But it shows an overall 12% drop in staff 'engagement' from the previous survey just a year ago.  And on some questions, it's even worse; the % of staff agreeing that "I would recommend OGC as a great place to work" has fallen by 28% in the year.  Only 29% of respondents think 'leadership and managing change' is a positive in OGC.  The biggest drop of all is around, "I believe that the board has a clear vision for the future of OGC".  A year ago 62% of staff supported this statement; now it is 14%.

As we said earlier, things may have moved on somewhat since October.  But 'OGC' and the people who were / are part of it represent a critical resource in terms of public sector procurement, and what is clear is that the continuing uncertainty is having a huge effect on morale.  We're very supportive of many of the initiatives in government procurement; but let's hope that the 300 or so ex OGC staff get a bit more certainty early in the New Year about their future.

Perhaps this comes back to our fear which we expressed some time ago; whether Ian Watmore, with his huge range of responsibilities, really has time to lead public procurement in the sense that previous OGC CEOs did.

And we'll come back to this next week, when we'll try to answer the question; is OGC nailed to its perch?*

* for the benefit of younger readers, a Monty Python referenceOK, here it is.

Monty Python - Dead Parrot Sketch
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