Watchdog warns buyers over benchmarking

19 June 2002
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20 June 2002

Public-sector buyers should avoid "spurious" price comparisons with private finance initiative (PFI) deals, the government's spending watchdog has warned.

Jeremy Colman, deputy controller and auditor-general of the National Audit Office, said such benchmarking was unrealistic and that figures could be open to manipulation.

He urged buyers to judge PFI deals on their benefits and risks.

The warning comes after reports that demands placed on bidders for the UK's first PFI road maintenance contract pushed prices beyond targets.

But a spokeswoman for contract co-ordinator Portsmouth City Council denied the claim and said talks were continuing.

SMjun2002

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