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Private finance for the delivery of school projects in England

By B. Aritua, N.J. Smith and R. Athiyo


This paper analyses the use of the private finance initiative (PFI) approach to deliver school projects in England. The findings are based on case-study research in the Building Schools for the Future scheme (BSF), the largest single capital investment in SO years to rebuild and renew all of England's secondary schools. Up to half of the school infrastructure is to be procured by PFI contracts. A major concern has been the high cost associated with PFI procurement and any subsequent changes to scope. Furthermore, in some cases PFI-funded schools have been closed soon after completion; at great cost to the public sector. The aim of this research was therefore to\ud understand the underlying reasons for these problems.\ud The main conclusion is that the difficulties in BSF arise\ud from not sorting out strategic issues and instituting\ud appropriate organisational frameworks before engaging\ud the private sector. The result of this is a lack of clarity\ud about the long-term needs and end user aspirations. A\ud brief outline of current programme management methods\ud is given and it is suggested that this might be integral to\ud the successful delivery of schools using private finance. A\ud clear strategic vision that cascades into projects via\ud programmes will ensure that the school infrastructure is\ud appropriate for the anticipated strategic benefits and is\ud aligned to the overall service delivery ambitions.\u

Publisher: Institution of Civil Engineers / Thomas Telford
Year: 2008
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