The Skye Bridge

This report is the result of the first of the National Audit Office's examinations concerning the implementation of the Private Finance Initiative. From their previous work both the National Audit Office and the Committee of Public Accounts are familiar with the problems which have arisen from more traditional procurement methods. We and others have been greatly interested in how successful the initiative would be in addressing such problems.

In the case of the Skye Bridge contracts were signed as long as 1991 and the crossing was opened in 1995. As one of the earliest so far completed projects it is an excellent case study, and in itself an important milestone in the implementation of the initiative. At the same time, since the deal was done a great amount of further work and through has gone into defining what is good practice for such projects. The Scottish Office did not have the benefit of this in 1991, through much of what they did in the Skye case contributed to guidance which has since been issued.

The report identifies several general lessons which departments and others will wish to consider for future privately financed projects. My intention is that the National Audit Office will continue to keep the initiative under review, so that these ideals can be added to and if necessary elaborated over time.