Andersen backs PFI programme

Andersen backs PFI programme

Consultants have dismissed reports that the Government’s Private Finance Initiative (PFI) is about to collapse.

“For over two years Andersen Consulting has been extensively involved in delivering PFI programmes and bidding for others,” said Ian Watmore, partner at Andersen Consulting. “We remain supportive of the PFI concept for the future as we believe it provides an excellent way for the private sector to help the Government deliver better and cheaper public services,” he added.

However, some consultants believe that the public-sector tendering process means that the public sector will not get the best from PFI.

“The risk to the public sector is loss of innovation and continuing costs against a changing set of requirements. These are always borne by the public sector because it has to provide a continous service,” said Bob Aylott, head of outsourcing practice and adviser to KPMG’s PFI practice.

Aylott believes there is a problem with consultants having to contribute their ideas to an open tendering process.

“Suppliers and clients don’t need a transactional relationship, but a partnership, and that’s particularly true in long-term contracting. The solution has to be a change in attitude to the contractual relationship with continued risk sharing but with continued profit sharing,” he said.

“It’s impossible to anticipate all future events. Relationships and contracts have to be designed to anticipate unknown and substantial differences,” added Aylott.

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