Headlines: November 3rd, 1998

The Government has issued new guidance to the Further Education sector to help it bring in further Private Finance Initiative projects.There are already five signed PFI projects in the FE sector, worth more than twenty million pounds, and a further 146 being prepared.

Education and Employment Minister George Mudie said: “There is clearly considerable potential for further PFI and partnership deals in the English FE sector, with over 400 colleges ranging in size and location.

The new arrangements for the FE sector were drawn up by the Further Education Funding Council (FEFC) in consultation with the Treasury Taskforce. Adrian Montague, Treasury Task Force Chief Executive, said: “I know the private sector has in the past had some reservations about bidding for PFI projects in education, in particular concerns about affordability and commitment. The FEFC’s arrangements address these issues head-on, and are based on the Taskforce’s own published sign-off process for PFI projects.

“The new arrangements mean colleges will have their PFI projects tested by the FEFC for viability, affordability and college commitment before being ‘signed off’ to notify prospective private sector partners that they have met FEFC’s PFI project assessment criteria.The FEFC’s sign off arrangements are set out in an annex of the FEFC’s revised Capital Support Circular, which is being issued to FE colleges shortly. Further enquiries should be addressed to Phil Head on 01203 86 3000.