About The Office of Government Procurement (OGP)

The Office of Government Procurement (OGP) is an office of the Department of Public Expenditure NDP Delivery and Reform and plays a leading role in public service reform through delivery of the Public Procurement Reform Programme. They maintain the national public procurement policy framework and represent Ireland in the development of EU and international public procurement policy. They are strengthening the analysis of public sector spending and the management of data.

Careers in the OGP offer our people the opportunity to do purposeful work, which makes a real difference to the Irish State and its people. The OGP is proud of its work in creating a supportive environment for its people to develop, contribute and lead. It has developed a progressive and inclusive people strategy, EMPOWER, and is one of the first civil service organisations to be certified as a Great Place to Work.

The OGP has recently launched a Leadership model, which displays our commitment to identify, build and enhance the leader in everyone. Leadership at all levels is critical for the OGP to grow and develop as an organisation and this new Model enables all our people to tap into leadership capabilities, regardless of grade or career stage. The OGP values are; We Care, We are Inclusive, We Empower, We Lead the Way and We Make a Difference.

Category Manager Career Opportunities

Applications for the Category Manager competition are now open and will close at 3pm on Thursday, 4th May 2023. To find out more information and to apply for the role, follow the link to the Category Manager job listing.

About Orla

Orla is a Category Manager with the Office of Government Procurement. She talks to us about her role, experiences and opportunities that have been made available to her since joining the civil service. Orla tells us about how rewarding it has been to watch her team develop and how the OGP is not what she expected of a typical civil service department.

Q1. Tell us a bit about your role?

I lead the Marketing and Communications Category in sourcing public relations, advertising, media planning and media buying services on behalf of the State. It’s a strategically important Category because it’s so essential that the State can communicate effectively with the increasingly diverse audiences that make up Irish society. This was never more evident than over the last 3 years as we navigated our way through the pandemic.

Many millions of euro have been spent through our communications arrangements in this time. Although we’ve largely emerged from the COVID crisis now, I don’t expect marketing budgets to decline as other priorities, such as the climate crisis, become more and more urgent.

Q2. What were your reasons for applying for Category Manager in the OGP?

I’d been working in public procurement for a number of years for various public sector bodies. During that time I was involved in buying everything from airfield lighting to bus drivers’ uniforms to fire engines.

I really enjoyed the variety and learned a great deal about the organisations I worked for, but I wanted to get involved in running larger national-level procurement projects, and to have a strategic input into their design and delivery. As a central purchasing body, the OGP offers the opportunity to do this.

Q3. What are some of the benefits and supports available to you?

The OGP offers many opportunities for self-development, either through formal employer-funded training programmes and seminars, or by enhancing our skills on-the-job through involvement in cross-functional working groups. Legal support is provided by the CSSO.

A wide pool of Category and Portfolio Managers collectively provides a wealth of practical knowledge that I can tap into if needed. There are also numerous initiatives on offer aimed at promoting employee wellbeing, the extent of which I haven’t seen elsewhere.

Q4. What opportunities has this role provided for you?

It feels like I’ve come “full circle” in my career. I studied marketing at university and my very first job was in market research, conducting consumer surveys. Now I’m back working in a role which allows me to combine my procurement expertise with marketing. The opportunity to observe how technology change has influenced the world of marketing over the intervening years is fascinating.

When I started out, we were excited to be using desktop PCs to analyse survey data. The internet was undeveloped and “digital marketing” unheard of. Now we’re learning about AI, the metaverse and the opportunities this technology presents for immersive, experiential marketing strategies to become the norm.

Q5. What has surprised you since joining the OGP?

The OGP is not what I would have expected of a typical civil service department. Of course its purpose is to support and implement government policy in the conduct of its business and, given the level of public spending we manage, there’s inevitably an aspect of regulation to our work. However, we’re conducting commercial activities day-to-day.

As Category Managers, we need to understand the dynamics of the industries with which we’re involved, as well as the commercial pressures and prevailing trends within our supply base. So the OGP marks an intersection point between the civil service and the commercial world in a way which I think is quite unique.

Q6. What aspect of the role do you particularly enjoy?

Watching my Category team as they develop professionally has been especially rewarding. I currently lead a team of 4 personnel (2 Category Specialists Higher and 2 Category Specialists).

Each had very different work experience and skillsets when they came on board. It’s been great to watch them becoming established in their OGP roles and to see their confidence grow as they’ve taken on more and more responsibility over the last few years.

Q7. Would you recommend a career in the OGP and why?

I would indeed. The Category Manager role is a very challenging one, with multiple aspects and demands. We’re constantly managing change and operating in an environment of change, which requires a high level of adaptability and resilience.

However the experience of working as part of a large group of procurement professionals, supported by the training, systems and processes that are available within the OGP, is very positive. It’s never dull, that’s for sure!