Committee of Public Accounts: Press Notice



National Audit Office report: Improving the PFI tendering process

Almost four years ago, when my Committee looked at this issue, we were clear that the process of tendering PFI deals was slow and cumbersome and, as such, posed a risk to taxpayers’ money.

Departments have failed to buck their ideas up. Their foot-dragging in addressing the issues we warned them about means tendering processes for PFI deals are lasting about three years, wasting tens of millions of pounds.

And partly because of the time these deals take to progress, fewer and fewer companies are choosing to get involved.

Departments consistently underestimate the cost of launching PFI deals and adviser costs alone have soared to 75 per cent more than expected. And a third of all deals went through major changes when only one bidder was left at the table. The public sector must not be left dancing to the tune of a sole bidder. Making changes so late in the day opens up the risk of a public sector rip off.

I wish I could say I was amazed, but there is something tragically predictable about it all.

Enough is enough. Departments need to get a grip of these processes. This Committee should not have to drum home the same messages in another four years time.

Notes for Editors

Requests for further comment from Edward Leigh should be made via Luke Robinson, Select Committee Media Officer, on 020 7219 5693 or 07917 488549.