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19 June 2013 | Marino Donati
Organisations including FM providers, construction contractors and investors have signed up to the UK Treasury's new code of conduct, aimed at cutting costs in existing public private partnership (PPP) deals.
The voluntary code sets out how public bodies and private sector firms can work together to make savings in contracts to build schools, hospitals and other public infrastructure projects, including PFI deals.
It lays out key commitments for partners, including having a single point of contact for all parties on a project, as well as proactively seeking joint strategies for operational improvements.
Around 50 organisations have signed up to the code with more expected, the Treasury said. Among the private sector signatories so far are Costain Group, Galliford Try, HSBC and Sodexo.
The code is part of the government’s work to reduce the cost of PFI deals under the ‘Operational Savings' programme. And Treasury says it has made £1.5 billion savings since it was launched two years ago.
Chief secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander said contracts had to be as efficient and transparent as possible to ensure maximum value for money for the taxpayer. “The work on Operational Savings, and the code itself, are further examples of how the government is working with the private sector to drive down the cost of infrastructure in the UK so that we can invest where it’s most needed.”
Other recommendations in the code urge partners to:
- Engage with each other in a constructive and timely manner.
- Hold regular meetings to discuss what savings have been made and explore further opportunities.
- Engage responsively when considering the type and price of variations, waivers, changes or approvals.
- Private sector partners should provide transparent information on a project’s energy and utility costs.
- Ensure a clear understanding of the costs, benefits and efficiency savings opportunities of projects.
- Public sector partners should ensure resources and skills are used to create the most efficiency.