11 December 2023
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PFI handback – the importance of information and data gathering

To The Point
(2 min read)

Hundreds of the UKs operational PFI/PPP projects are set to expire soon – schools, health facilities and more. Our specialists have been speaking to key players at a series of events around the UK to find out what is keeping them awake at night as contracts run out and examine the practical realities of the handback process. In this series of articles, we use the intelligence gathered to shine a light on the key issues that 'Handback' is likely to throw up … and what to do about them. This article raises the importance of information and data gathering in the Handback process.

At our most recent PFI Handback event, the audience was asked what aspect of handback was most important to them, and the answers were revealing: 17% said the condition of assets; 16% said information & data gathering; 13% said managing liabilities; 4% said relationship management; and 0% picked continuity of services. The remaining 50% said … all of the above!

These results show how complex this area can be, and there is not a one size fits all solution. Some of the main issues raised are covered by these categories, about which you can find out more in our series of articles.

A recurring theme of just about every speaker at our events was the importance of information and data.

Robert Howie KC, addressing our audience in Edinburgh, gave three key tips for giving a client the best chance of winning a dispute in this space:

  1. Make sure the client keeps their records;
  2. Make sure the client keeps their records; and
  3. Make sure the client keeps their records…

The Edinburgh event also heard from Dr Rachel Hampson, Estates and Facilities Management team lead at healthcare infrastructure specialist Archus. 

With, for example, more than 1 million employees involved in FM services within the NHS, she made clear that handback is a data intensive process. The push towards decarbonisation and the information required for that is also a data hungry process. 

Getting data is one thing, but the form of the data that bodies receive from providers is crucial. If, for example, it is not searchable, then how will you use it?

The quality of the data is just as important, and with a nod to the interlinked themes of the Handback sessions, is likely to rely on the quality of the relationship between users and providers.

However, Dr Hampson also highlighted that within the challenges, there is an opportunity for the public sector to bring in new skills and work out how best to house data going forward.

To the Point 

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