When it rains it pours – at least for troubled support services firm Amey, which has lost yet another senior manager this week. So what's going wrong?
It's been another traumatic week for Amey, the support services group that has been dogged by PFI-induced troubles. Another senior manager has resigned amid news that the company would be selling its PFI investments stake and cutting 300 jobs.

The latest to announce his resignation is Simon Hipperson, head of Amey's programme management group. He follows closely on the heels of finance director David Miller and technology services director John Robinson and Robert Osborne who left in July.

Miller was responsible for the implication of a new accounting standard that turned expected £55m profits into £18m losses in March. The new standard UITF 34 means that firms have to write off PFI bid costs as soon as they are incurred, which places more pressure on cash flow. Miller says that the prospects of dealing with more European accounting standards over the next few months was as appealing as a "little cup of sick" and he "wasn't going to drink it".

Amey's programme management unit is being merged with Amey Ventures its PFI investment division, as is the business development unit, which was headed by Osborne. The reorganisation is a result of Amey scaling back its involvement in PFI.

As well as the new accounting practice, Amey blames rising bid costs and delays in finalising for its rethink on PFI. The firm also announced this week that it would also be selling its PFI equity stakes and it says it will now only bid for such contracts in partnership with other firms.

Other contractors such as Mowlem, Jarvis and Taylor Woodrow are also reducing their exposure to PFI. Mowlem chief executive John Gains says that it will be bidding for fewer PFI projects in 2002 than 2001 and revealed this week that of the £6.1m his company spent on PFI bids in the six months to 30 June, £5.2m was written off.

Gains called on the government to make the scheme cheaper and faster for contractors, and said if the government stepped in to subsidise bid costs, contractors would be less likely to abandon PFI.