Managers on hundreds of private finance projects request training to boost expertise

The government has set up a training scheme to combat the lack of PFI management skills in the public sector.

The programme was launched this week by the Treasury and Partnerships UK, an agency that offers advice on public-private ventures. The scheme targets thousands of public sector managers across 500 live PFI projects.

The course aims to cover practical as well as theoretical issues, including payment mechanisms, managing relationships, disputes and variations.

The scheme was set up at the request of public sector managers, according to the Treasury. The private sector has also complained in the past that lack of public sector expertise can hold up deals and lead to inefficient models being put in place.

Accountant Pricewaterhouse Coopers was appointed in the spring to work on developing the scheme.

Each course is spread over two days and costs £695 plus VAT per delegate. Group size will be up to 20 people. The courses will be conducted jointly between a professional trainer and an experienced PFI practitioner, often a former local authority manager.

The first course will take place in London on 9 and 10 October, with a second planned for December, in a location to be confirmed.

The Treasury and Partnerships UK have also released new benchmarking data on costs and timings from more than 50 PFI projects.

Andy Carter, head of the Treasury’s operational taskforce, said: “These courses and the benchmarking data are delivering on key policy initiatives made by the Treasury around improving frontline skills and support to the public sector, as well as increasing the openness around PFI projects.”