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
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.