NEWS: Charles Barker to promote PFI

The Private Finance Panel, the body behind the Government’s scheme to draw in private sector cash for public construction projects, has turned to PR consultancy Charles Barker to help combat bad publicity about the scheme.

The Private Finance Panel, the body behind the Government’s scheme to

draw in private sector cash for public construction projects, has turned

to PR consultancy Charles Barker to help combat bad publicity about the

scheme.



Charles Barker was hired by the panel last week, following a competitive

pitch, to promote the work of the Private Finance Initiative and to

encourage business leaders to back future projects. Fees are estimated

to be around pounds 30,000.



Led by Charles Barker chief executive Angela Heylin, the account team

will highlight the benefits of the scheme to potential investors, the

construction trade, community groups and the business press. ‘It is less

understood than it should be and is a very important programme for the

future infrastructure of the country,’ said Heylin.



The agency will also emphasise the role of the panel, headed by chief

executive Douglas Hogg, in facilitating partnerships between the

Government and private companies.



‘We will be undertaking a major promotion of the initiative over the

summer and beyond to take the key lessons and messages to the market

place,’ said Hogg.



The brainchild of former Chancellor of the Exchequer Norman Lamont, the

PFI was launched in 1992 to draw funding from private firms for public

sector projects such as roads, hospitals and schools.



However, the PFI has faced criticism for the slow pace of its

procurement process. A report by the Treasury select committee called

for the wholesale reform of the PFI system, while Martin Laing, chairman

of construction group John Laing, last month attacked the PFP as too

weak to drive the PFI forward.



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