MoD praised for PFI contract for campus

February 15, 2002

Parliament's public spending watchdog has put its weight behind the government drive to use the private sector to help deliver education and training.

The National Audit Office has praised a Ministry of Defence initiative to set up a new military training college. It said this week that the MoD secured value for money when it brought in a private company to build a new campus for its Joint Services Command and Staff College in Shrivenham. The college, set up in August 2000, provides advanced and higher-level training for 2,000 services personnel each year.

The NAO report says that theMoD made substantial savings after it rejected a "conventionally funded public-sector solution" in favour of a deal under the Private Finance Initiative. Defence Management, a subsidiary of Serco Investments, was awarded a 30-year PFI contract in June 1998, primarily to build the campus.

The NAO said that, at £200 million, the contract with Defence Management was £23 million cheaper than the public-sector offer, and had a number of non-financial benefits.

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