Managing the Relationship, to Secure Successful Partnership in PFI Projects

The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) is now established as a major form of Government procurement. It is used to procure a wide range of public services, including hospitals, prisons, roads, computer systems and Government accommodation. There are over 400 PFI contracts currently in force committing departments to future expenditure of around £100 billion.  Although there is now considerable experience of the PFI procurement process, there is much less experience of the issues that arise once the contract has been let. Most PFI contracts are still in their early stages. It is important, therefore, that initial lessons arising from the management of these contracts, some of which relate to how the contracts were procured, are identified and disseminated quickly to authorities so that they can be taken into account in current and future projects. This report highlights key issues which authorities need to keep in mind when developing and managing relationships with private sector PFI contractors. The study focused on how authorities and contractors were managing the PFI contracts they had entered into. But how easy it is to create a successful partnership often depends on decisions made during, and often early in, the procurement process. Although this study did not examine in detail how the authorities procured their projects some of the results of our survey identified issues relevant to the procurement process.