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Myth and legend surround the OJEC legislation and on a straw poll of my own organization understanding was muddled. One of our senior employees who shall remain nameless even thought it covered all businesses in the UK. Hopefully I can clarify some of the understanding in this short article. For a start it is no longer known as OJEC but in fact OJEU which stands for the ‘Official Journal of the European Union’ and it is basically the online publication in which all contracts from the public sector which are valued above a certain financial threshold according to EU legislation, must be published.

So unlike my colleague thought, it is only public sector contracts that must be advertised in the journal and then again only over a certain level. I guess the next definition is ‘public sector’ and contrary to some opinion this is not just government and local government departments but also any organization that receives significant funding from the public sector. Museums for example which may receive funding from a variety of sources as well as government fall under the OJEU legislation. And it is legislation too; fundamentally OJEU is a representation of European law, legally enforceable by our UK government through the auspices of the OGC (Office of Government Commerce).

Now what about those pesky financial thresholds, they are subject to some debate and I suspect but am not sure that this comes about in the UK because they are set originally in Euros and so the sterling value could be subject to exchange rate variation. However for clarity they are published on the OGC website. There are various categories but to simplify for the supply of goods or services there are two core levels, being £90,319 or £139,893. Why two levels? Well the first lower level applies to what are called ‘Schedule 1’ companies which are predominately Central Government organizations (a list can be found at and the higher level relates to all other UK public sector organizations. Simple huh?

Well if it does get too complicated there are mechanisms if you are a public sector organization to avoid the tortuous process that is OJEU. One is to not spend above the threshold, however be careful that in a year the cumulative amount doesn’t go above the thresholds. The other is to buy through a pretendered OGC framework agreement. In these framework agreements companies have been put through a rigorous OJEU process already by the OGC and this prequalifies them to automatically comply with OJEU legislation on agreed terms. A public sector organization can therefore buy directly from them at any financial level without having to go through a tender process as the hard work has been done already. And by the way if it helps Rackline is part of one such OGC framework agreement.

I hope this article in some way has made OJEU (……or is it OJEC?) a little bit clearer, but if you need more insight we’re happy to help if you contact us at Rackline, or better still the experts at OGC should have all the answers.

Lindsay Khan