‘New PPP option’ nears for Irish govt

An Irish government minister has suggested a new PPP model may address concerns regarding the role of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) .

Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure and Reform Paschal Donohoe has confirmed work on a new PPP-type procurement option is progressing well and the European PPP Expertise Centre is assisting the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform in the matter.

The National Development Finance Agency (NDFA) announced at the Financing Irish Infrastructure conference last week that a market sounding process is expected to take place in 2019 to facilitate the department’s work on alternative models for delivering infrastructure.

Fianna Fail TD Charlie McConalogue asked the minister if he has considered the impact locally of pursuing the PPP route.

Donohoe responded that the government is encouraging and supporting SME participation and if the department’s work on a new PPP model is successful “this would certainly assist in addressing some of the concerns of [McConalogue] in relation to typical PPP procurements”.  

Donohoe added: “Even in relation to the large scale PPP projects, opportunities exist for the SME sector to play a part in these projects,” highlighting the NDFA’s Meet the Buyer events around the country.

The Report of the PPP Review, published earlier this year, recommended that PPPs continue to be considered as a procurement option for suitable projects, and in order to address the scale/complexity issue the scope for creating a new PPP-type procurement option that would be suitable for procuring smaller scale and less complex projects, over a shorter timeframe, be explored as an alternative to the typical PPP procurement option.

The Financing Irish Infrastructure 2018 conference in Dublin highlighted contradictions on smaller contractors’ role in PPP projects post-Carillion, and the importance of availability payments for credit. For more on this see the next edition of Partnerships Bulletin magazine.