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Scotland proposes alternative to PFI

The Scottish government has outlined its proposed alternative to PFI as a procurement method for major infrastructure projects, including schools and hospitals.

Under plans revealed on Tuesday (20 May), the Scottish Futures Trust (SFT), a not-for-profit organisation, will be formed to act as a ‘key vehicle’ in the delivery of more than £35 billion-worth of public projects over the next 10 years.

Arnie Dunn, president of the Royal Incorporation of Architects in Scotland (RIAS), said he hoped the replacement scheme would put design at the heart of large-scale public projects.

Dunn said: ‘If this new system means there is going to be a return to a more traditional role for architects then I can only commend it. And if it means less involvement from lawyers and insurers driving the project, it will be a good thing.’

Alan Dunlop, partner of Gordon Murray + Alan Dunlop Architects – which is currently working on the Clackmannanshire PPP schools project – said there will be little change in the short-term.

‘At the moment it’s a bit vague just how [SFT] is going to be structured but the intent is very commendable,’ he said.

‘However, as many of the PPP contracts for schools are already signed, I can’t see how it will come into operation for some time.’

The SFT scheme will be set up as a public-sector partnership between central and local government and, according to
the Scottish National Party (SNP), it will be less costly than the existing PFI procurement system.

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