Private Finance Initiative (PFI)
What is PFI?
Private Finance Initiatives (PFIs) are a form of public sector procurement introduced by the Government in 1992.
In a PFI contract a private consortium will undertake to finance, design, deliver and maintain a project against a specific remit, such as a school. The Government or Local Authority will then make regular payments to the consortium for taking on this responsibility, rather like a mortgage. Part of the school’s funds also contribute – via the Local Authority – to this repayment element, and the school’s governing body agrees what the annual amount will be. The benefit of this arrangement is that any risk is transferred to the private sector.
PFI is very important in education. By 2008 there were already 845 schools involved in 107 PFI projects in England.
What it means for Kew Riverside Primary School?
In 2002 The London Borough of Richmond-upon-Thames entered into a PFI partnership with a dedicated contractor to build and maintain six primary schools in the borough for a period of 30 years.
The contract means that all work and maintenance related to the premises must be addressed by the contractor to the very highest standard, within a dedicated timescale and to an agreed response time. The advantage of this arrangement is that all adults employed by the school can focus solely on their core purpose: teaching and learning.