Probe into first PFI schools finds skills shortage

30 January 2003
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30 January 2003

Purchasers in local education authorities must beef up their skills in dealing with schools built under the controversial private finance initiative (PFI), the Audit Commission has warned.

In its report, PFI in Schools, which compared 17 of the first 25 PFI projects with 12 built under traditional contracts, the commission said none of the PFI schools were better value.

It found "evidence that procurement skills were thin on the ground" but acknowledged its examination was done when PFI was still a new method.

But Martin Lipson, a PFI school specialist with 4Ps, the advisory agency set up by the Local Authority Agency, said progress had been made.

"Local authorities were used to working in their silos," he said. "They didn't at first exchange information, discuss issues and challenge assumptions."

SMjan2003

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