Programme and Project Management Centre of Excellence : Briefing Note



The programme and project management Centres of Excellence (COE) initiative in OGC has its origins in work undertaken by both the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury in support of the Government’s delivery and reform agenda. Some of the thinking is a culmination of many years of developing best practice in programme and project management. The Cabinet Office, the Office of Public Services Reform (OPSR) and the Prime Minister’s Delivery Unit in particular, are focussed on the civil service reforms defined by Sir Andrew Turnbull. These emphasise a need for the public sector to deliver the services on the Government’s agenda and the role that good programme and project management must play in improving the success rate of delivery.

In 2002 OPSR, working closely with OGC, ran a project to research improvement of programme and project delivery in the civil service. The scope of the project covered programmes that supported Public Service Agreements and the mechanisms for delivering policy initiatives. One recommendation of the project was that delivery performance would be improved through better support of a department’s programme and project portfolio through the establishment of a programme and project management Centre of Excellence. The final report of the project can be found at

While the COE concept was being developed, OGC was reviewing the continuing poor performance record of IT-enabled projects in government and made a series of recommendations to Cabinet at the end of 2002. Primary among them was that all departments should have a Centre of Excellence in place to support these projects. Cabinet ministers agreed to the recommendations, which included a target to have COEs in place in all central government departments by June 2003. These Cabinet actions can be found under the OGC Centres of Excellence pages on