Analysing the results of the Private Finance Initiative (PFI)

This article considers the consequences of the Private Finance Initiative ( PFI ) and public interface in the United Kingdom ‘s public services. Along with briefly reexamining anterior research based upon the subjects proposed by Broadbent and Laughlin ( 1999 ) , this article suggests a control system need to make incentive to private houses in recent old ages.


In these twenty-four hours and age, the issue of control and legalizing in authorities procedure is debated widely. The Private Financial Initiative strategy which has been given the power over the fiscal resource whether has been good strategy to cut down cost and portion the hazard with authorities.

In the society, people who are working closely with implementing controls tend to hold their ain opportunism. By looking at the society as whole system that carried with it certain demands from assorted parts, different function has different involvement that must be fulfilled ( Emile Durkheim ) . Organizational maps are to advance integrating, stableness, consensus and balance.

Key Issue

Who is accountable? To whom?

Is the PFI is the good strategy?

Is that PFI independency? Government control power?

Control lead to command?

Private finance enterprise ( PFI )

In 1992, UK authorities seeks private sector to assist out the populace sector development with big graduated table and economic sciences cognition. There are two elements of which private sector have involved: finance and operation. In this essay we focus on the private finance enterprise ( PFI ) which is a method of funding major capital investings that less affecting the public fund ( cf. Broadbent & A ; Laughlin, 1999 ; Broad Broad et al. , 2000 ) and that motivate the private sector to be more cost effectual in the design, building and subsequent operation of many public sector undertakings ( McKendrick and McCabe 1997 ) .

The aim and intent of PFI

The PFI system was created with the intent to put in capital without enforcing revenue enhancements, raising debts or deviating cost from other precedences. It acts as an mediator between authorities and private sectors to offer better value for money than public resource by commanding the undertaking over its life-time. By sharing answerabilities with private sectors, authorities can cut down the hazard and increase benefit to public ( Broadbent et al. , 2000, p 23 ) .

Accomplishment of PFI

In term of power, PFI has Institutional power which relies on an external legal or regulative base from which power derives. They can hold the power to force providers and contractors to cut down the monetary value and better public presentation. They besides can make economic systems of graduated table by commanding Numberss of private contracts.

PFI has proven to be effectual in the yesteryear for illustration, during 1992 and 2003, 563 PFI undertakings with a capital value of ?35.5 billion achieve fiscal near with most of them being decided after 1997 ( Her Majesty ‘s Treasury ( HMT ) 2003 ) . From 1995 to 2002, the one-year PFI plan has increased from nine undertakings numbering ?667 million to 65 undertakings valued at ?7.6 billion ( HMT 2003 ) . Estimate by 2010 it is around 200 undertakings with a entire value of ?26 billion will be closed ( HMT 2006 ) . Without the aid of private sectors, authorities would hold paid tantamount sum of fund to supply public service ( Gaffney et al.A BMJ.1999 ; 319: 116-119 ) .

Accountability and control of PFI

PFI was given the power of fiscal resources from authorities ; hence, they are accountable to authorities as an agent. In other words, they have duty to the work provided ( Gray, 1983 ) . Consequently, chief transportations finance every bit good as the right to specify and account what is appropriate to agents.

The PFI trades have been drying up. The figure of trades completed in 2009 was about the worst of 10 old ages period ( FT 2010 ) . The first ground is private sector houses require higher net incomes for anticipating high hazard. Therefore, PFI can non finish the trades with the limited budget that authorities set. During the fiscal crisis, the cost of adoption has been increasing. In fact, private sector involvement rates of borrowing are much higher than the authorities adoption because there is hazard of default. PFI ‘s undertaking has lower net income due to involvement refunds is higher than if it had been borrowed by the authorities. That means they increase the hazard oppose to authorities.

Controling the beginning of finance, the agents are accountable for their determination as the one duty to execute a certain map. Accountability may be dictated or implied by jurisprudence, ordinance, or understanding or outlook. The agents have to bear the effects for failure public presentation as they are accountable for ( Hoskin, K. 1996 ) .

Even though, Hoskin ( Hoskin, K. 1996 ) said agents have to take duty for their action, in March 2009, the planetary fiscal crisis created the trouble in support, theA TreasuryA established an Infrastructure Finance Unit in order to guarantee the continuance of PFI undertakings ( Timmins, N, 2009 ) . Furthermore, Government has bail out ?30m for a 2nd PFI undertaking make up the sum of a ?700m wasted in May 2009 ( Webb, Tim, 2009 ) .

In fact, the trades from PFI are unreplaceable even though they need to be bail out. However, the PFI debt can non be refinanced without being punished ( Worcester News 2009 ) . There will be punishments to PFI for outdate and out budget. Consequently, PFI will take responsible for those losingss in forepart of authorities for punishments while authorities has to confront the duties to public society.


Principles have been given the power to PFI to command the finance resource as the agents and ‘Control is the procedure by which directors assure that resources are obtained and used efficaciously and expeditiously in the achievement of the organisation ‘s aims ‘ ( Anthony, 1988 ) . The issue is whether agents prove themselves good strategy or non.

PFI claim to supply control system that can do good usage of resource such as:

Legislation punishment act as a motivation for houses to complete undertakings on clip and within budget

Private contractors are accountable for care disbursals there is motive for high quality building.

Private sectors are better directors with better cognition of market and economic systems of graduated table.

PFI can transportations put on the line from the authorities to houses. Firms receive net income as the wages for hazard pickings. PFI has chosen the high hazard undertaking

However, the bureau theory defined ; there is the possibility that the agent ignore the wants of rule. The ground is PFI has their ain involvement and private information that authorities has no control. The authorities has no control over the twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours basic activities of the PFI, so that they can conceal the information from authorities. By secret contract with private houses they can profit themselves as mediators ( ICAEW-2009 ) .

Furthermore, from interpretative position point, agent has their ain civilization to derive benefit as for private enterprise. Culture is something we portion and impact our thought and behaviour. It ‘s besides affected the work organisation, change the manner of construing strategy and reiterate the same everyday brand people wont and behaviour ( Smircich, 1983 ) . Unlike public sector organisations, net income motivation is the motive of private sector. They need to last, develop and be profitable ; hence, they need to carry through their demand foremost when they complete the undertaking given by authorities.

Furthermore, PFI become obsolescence because people get used to the environment and status. Therefore, they are non cognizant of the un-certainty hazards. Believing their expertness and disregard the hazard lead to an impulse for the authorities bailout.

It can be seen that power of authorities might non alter the civilization of organisation. “ The mission to enforce a new ‘culture ‘ on public sector organisations via structural solutions based on market theory frequently fails to analyse the old civilization or the implicit in value constructions and administrative political relations ” ( Gray & A ; Jenkins, 1995 ) .

Control systems must be sensitive to organisational civilization. Those running counter to civilization are improbable to be successful ( Hofstede, 1981 ) . Therefore, the authorities has allowed the PFI to run as they have been.

On the other manus, one of the cardinal statements is that authorities can command the bureau through societies and organisations force per unit area. For illustration, authorities can present statute law over term and status of contracts or status of economic system such as involvement rate, duty and so on. ( Broadbent 2003 )

As an agent PFI work under the authorities wants but non as they suppose to, hence, their system become obsolescence and incapable to accommodate. A undertaking bringing theoretical account which focuses less on advanced result and produces installations might non be able to cover with future alterations in demand ( James Barlow, Martina Koberle Gaiser 2008 ) . The money from populace has been wasted. Taking NHS as an illustration they have wasted ?350m a twelvemonth on outside direction advisers at their ain disbursals, while taxpayer wage one million millions to companies who gain benefit in the NHS from PFI.A ( Guardian Feb 2010 ) .

In my sentiment, PFI is good strategy for public involvement as they have been supplying aid and support major capital investings, without trusting on immediate assistance from public beginnings. However as bureau theory defined, their work is non efficient as they proclaim because of obsolescence, their ain involvement and other forces ( Baiman1982 ) .


Government answerabilities & A ; control

Government has been given power by society through voting so they are accountable to public involvement. In the power theory ( extremist paradigm ) , authorities have gain tremendous power to command over the society. They have the ability to act upon behavior, change the path of events, victory over opposition, and acquire people to make things that they would non make ( Pfeffer, 1992 ) .

As a rule of PFI, they have the power to command PFI, their public presentation and procedure. For illustration, in 2009, the authorities changes the accounting criterion ( FT, 2010 ) to accommodate with international accounting. Government politically, forms the manner to roll up more item of how PFI is treating, and should treat in pattern. The authorities besides steer the society utilizing ordinances and societal systems. ( Broadbent & A ; Laughlin, 1997 )

Although, as indicated above, PFI might conceal some information from rule, authorities has other manner to command their item provided with National Audit Office ( NAO ) . By supplying the auditing over PFI undertaking, they can cut down the disregards of bureau with private information. Consequently, authorities can command PFI public consequences as they please and force PFI to follow authorities wants.

However, the authorities has control over PFI while the bailout has been increasing quickly. The ground is because their system has less effectual. Mark Mattison discussed that PFI has been provided its best value docket in term of clip, cost of capital and related consequences ( Mark Mattison 2009 ) .

The possible ground is NAO is besides an agent so that the authorities might non be able to acquire clasp of PFI public study. An bureau theory “ suggests that principals have lack grounds to swear their agents. The proprietor will happen to decide these concerns by seting nontrivial monitoring costs to aline the involvements of agents with principals and to cut down the range for information dissymmetries and timeserving behaviour ” ( ICAEW-2009 ) . The authorities can swear in NAO and PFI study or they need to hold another company to look over.

Additionally, authorities has less cognition of expertness than private houses. They tend to concentrate more on the work and politic instead than economic. Therefore, the program has failed to coerce PFI to take the utmost hazard with low return.

Furthermore, private house demand to be motivated in order to execute better. By motivate agents, rule can have better consequences. Taking one mill, Hitachi used direct labour hours as overhead allotment base to make inducement for mechanization ; they cut down their cost and increase their end product ( Hiromoto, 1991 ) .

From public point of position, the control over authorities was low because public merely can vote one time over 4 old ages for the party to take control. They gain control over the states so that populace has no control over twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours basic of authorities.

The job of managerial and political answerability

Government with the power of political as a consequence of their power base in planetary capital markets which was achieved through their function in the allotment of excess value ( Armstrong, 1987 ) . They provide public with context of control over PFI. Stewart ( 1984 ) suggests that managerial and political answerability as different degrees.

A cardinal statement is that authoritiess merely accountable in a political, instead than managerial term. Consequently, authorities makes an increasing in ways of control over society. Because of their alone power in society, which their being is depending on how they exercise control over society, anything they do has a controlling result. In combination with a deficiency of twenty-four hours by twenty-four hours control by the election, which has power to vote these organic structures but without a power to order practical action, leaves authoritiess in a unambiguously powerful place. ( Jane Broadbent and Richard Laughlin 2003 )

Furthermore, authorities civilization is politic. They can non merely alter their behavior to managerial merely to command the system of PFI ( Hofstede, 1980 -1983 ) . The civilization of public sector was showed as “ the mission to enforce a new ‘culture ‘ on public sector organisations via structural solutions based on market theory frequently fails to analyze the old civilization or the implicit in value constructions and administrative political relations ” ( Gray & A ; Jenkins, 1995 ) .


In my sentiment, with the power to command PFI through many signifiers in the society, authorities makes them less incentive and mutuality on authorities and associate. Government is under low control of society, so they do non take the duty as a managerial but political.

Discussion of the control system

In the terminal, the staying inquiry is “ Do command take to command ” . Equally far as I am concern, the reply can be no.

First, bureau job is a affair of struggles between ego involvements, therefore, bureau theory seeks to equilibrate the differences to find the optimum contract for an agent ‘s service ( Eppen, 1987 ) . However, the inquiry is can people swear the control of control ( Baiman 1982 ) . Because as NAO is an audit they still an agent of authorities, they might supply inaccurate study to authorities. Furthermore, the public point of position is NAO is besides under the control of authorities so that the study they provide can non be trusted.

Second, the ground is stress make people less motivate. As the essay indicated earlier PFI tend to work less expeditiously. They follow the authorities order alternatively of making what they should make. That makes the system become obsolescence. Another alternate paradigm for direction control & A ; answerability is that people are dominated by the ideological superstructures with which they interact. The civilization of organisation depends on the outgrowth of shared interpretative strategies, expressed in linguistic communication and other symbolic buildings that develop through societal interaction. Such strategies provide the footing for shared systems of intending that allow twenty-four hours to twenty-four hours activities to go indispensable modus operandis or civilization ( Smircich, 1983 ) . Consequently, the alteration in control can take to a depression.

On the other manus, the public organisations such as HMT, NAO and the Office of Government Commerce ( OGC ) have made recommendations to better the operation of the strategy. They bring the control to PFI coerce them to work with the punishments as an inducement to execute in clip and budget. ( J Laffont and D Martimort 2002 )

Contingency theory implies that different systems should be adopted in response to different environmental conditions and claims that there is no 1 best manner to do a determination ( Otley, D. 1980 ) hence, any determination that has been made irrespective of its suitableness at the clip, will still be capable to the environmental and external impacts, hence appropriate contingent programs needs to be established to take into history the hazards that are likely to originate in order to outdo brush the uncertainnesss lies beyond. As each method has its restriction we should be cognizant, Variable factors will impact the concern in different ways. Therefore, there is no best manner to pull off organisation when doing a determination.


In decision, the control procedure demands to be analyzed better before the authorities introduces new control procedure. It depends on the state of affairs and civilization of houses they control. Looking at different literature, I can reason that Government are to a great extent involved in political undertakings, but are bit by bit involved in direction and supplying private inaugural better influence and do informed determinations on strategic programs, as opposed to merely being tools in the procedure. Therefore, both their involvements align and they can work together towards the same end. This nevertheless does non work if a spread is evident between the two. Accountants will non take much notice of controls if they are non involved in doing informed determinations and covering with direction. In my sentiments, in current economic system the private inaugural demand to acquire motivate instead than control.