Harry Scarff leaves for Cornerstone as £2bn of PFI schools schemes announced

The director leading PFI at delivery agency Partnerships for Schools has left to join Cornerstone, the new venture run by PfS’ former chief executive Tim Byles.

Harry Scarff’s departure will be seen as a blow to the delivery agency as he leaves just weeks after the government announced a £2bn pipeline of PFI schools schemes.

Scarff, who as well as working with the PFI unit within the agency was regional operations director for the south of England, had been at PfS since 2005. He is the first senior figure to jump ship to join Byles at Cornerstone since the venture was unveiled in May.

Harry brings to Cornerstone 20 years of experience

Tim Byles, Cornerstone

Prior to working at PfS, Scarff, a chartered building surveyor, worked as a director at Currie & Brown, where he specialised in PPP projects in education, healthcare and prisons, in the UK and overseas. He was involved in one of Canada’s first wave of healthcare PPP transactions, and the emerging PPP markets in mainland Europe.

Byles said: “Harry brings to Cornerstone 20 years of experience in the public and private sectors. His appointment signals Cornerstone moving into delivery phase as our first tranche of deals near conclusion.”

Cornerstone will use private investment to develop surplus public sector assets for use as local facilities such as schools. The company will operate as a mutual, returning profit to investors and to the third sector.

Byles has said expects the venture to work on about 60 projects in its first year.

Next April PfS will merge into the Education Funding Agency, with staff transferring across. A PfS spokesperson said: “PfS has a strength and depth of PFI expertise across the organisation, and we will continue to work very closely with the DfE to develop and implement its PFI strategy.”