NI Assembly demands PFI transparency

The public accounts committee in the Northern Ireland Assembly has called for greater transparency and a stronger focus on efficiency savings in PFI contracts.

The committee’s report into the future impact of borrowing and private finance commitments has recommended that the Strategic Investment Board should develop a “strategic programme to promote an initiative aimed at driving long term efficiencies from operational PFI projects”.

It also suggested that public bodies should develop a credible alternative solution or “exit strategy” ahead of a procurement process for design and build projects.

Specifically, the committee looked at the Belfast Metropolitan College’s Titanic Quarter PPP project, pointing out that “significant additional costs have been incurred on the project outside the PPP agreement”.

It called for lessons to be learnt on the project ahead of future deals being developed.