Tuesday, 16 November 2021
Ceisteanna Eile - Other Questions
Public Private Partnerships
I thank the Deputy for raising this issue. My Department's role in public private partnerships is to maintain and develop the general policy framework, including, where necessary, the legal framework, within which PPPs operate. It also provides central guidance to other Departments and State authorities in that context. My Department has no direct involvement in the procurement or delivery of individual PPP projects. Therefore, the delivery of the technological higher education sector projects, through the use of PPPs is, in the first instance, a matter for my colleague, the Minister for Further and Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Science.
PPPs are partnerships between the public and private sectors for the purpose of delivering a project or service and it is an internationally recognised model to design, build, finance, operate and maintain public infrastructure. Some of the advantages associated with PPPs are that they allow the public sector to avail of private sector expertise and innovation, and the private partner assumes responsibility for a considerable portion of the risk. The contracts tend to be long-term arrangements, typically spanning 25 years or more, with the private provider required to maintain the asset at a suitable standard over that period. At the end of the contract the PPP company must return the asset in year 1 condition.
PPPs continue to provide benefits to the State as a procurement method and, as such, enable the public sector to harness the innovation, commercial and management expertise and efficiencies of the private sector to design, build, finance, operate and maintain State facilities. PPPs will continue to be a procurement method available to the State for appropriately structured projects where they demonstrate value for money over a traditional procurement option. In ensuring Departments obtain the best value for money from public capital investment, PPPs are subject to the same robust and rigorous project appraisal process as traditionally procured projects. It is essential that projects are judged on their merits and in cases where PPPs can be demonstrated to give better value for money than traditional procurement, it is appropriate that they should be selected on that basis.