Good news may be looming on the PFI front. Readers may recall that CABE and the Office of Government Commerce (the provisional wing of the Treasury) produced a joint report earlier this year on forms of procurement for public projects, which has been waiting for final approval from Gordon and the others. That is forthcoming, and although it will include guidance on getting best design value from various forms of contract, the most significant one will be PFI.
Former Treasury chief secretary Andrew Smith approved the CABE/OGC proposals before he moved jobs; his successor, Paul Boateng, is understood to be positive about the value of good design, and could prove a friend to architecture. Meanwhile, the government's basic architectural policy, contained in the better public buildings document, is still the subject of seminars, encouraging clients to take a lead in demanding high-quality design however small (or large) the project. As ever with the Treasury, endorsement of design quality is likely to be contained in small print rather than headlines, but no matter. Watch this space.