IoW roads PFI seeks ‘additional support’

Isle of Wight Council has appointed a technical adviser to help it “get to grips” with its highways PFI contract.


Councillor Phil Jordan, executive member for public protection and Highways PFI, said that Atkins is being appointed to provide additional support on the project to help tackle “areas of uncertainty within the contract.


“We have inherited the responsibility for the highways PFI contract, but as most of those involved in its procurement are no longer with the council, it has been difficult to get to grips with the management of the contract as we would like,” he said.


“There are significant areas of uncertainty about responsibility for areas of work that are of the most interest to the public, which has led to some differences of opinion with Island Roads which remain unresolved.


“It is unacceptable for us to allow this uncertainty to continue, which is why we have employed Atkins to help strengthen our position and improve the situation for the Isle of Wight community.”


Atkins will also be asked to undertake a review of the current contract to ensure “complete clarity” about the responsibilities of all parties, the council said.


The announcement comes just days after it was revealed that another of the pilot road PFI schemes – Birmingham – was in arbitration because the performance of PFI partner Amey has “not been to the level where it should be”, according to the authority’s cabinet member for transport, Tahir Ali.