Unitary payments on private finance initiative (PFI) schemes are structured and priced to deliver an integrated service. It is not therefore possible to precisely identify costs attributable to each expenditure category.
However, analysis undertaken by officials on a sample of PFI schemes showed that the provision of ‘soft’ facilities management (FM) services (e.g. catering, cleaning, portering) made up on average 26 per cent. of the unitary payment; ‘hard’ FM services (building maintenance) on average 20 per cent. Costs to the private sector in management fees (administering the special purpose vehicles or ‘project companies’) and taking out insurance on the new facilities account for another approximately 4 per cent. Repayment of the annualised total financing debt (i.e. the capital cost and borrowing charges) accounted for on average 50 per cent. of the unitary payment.
There are no additional charges levied under a signed PFI contract private. The payment mechanism in a contract contains a volume element under which the quantity of variable items such as meals or linen provided is directly related to the throughput of patients, so where the volume of services are above those initially stated in the PFI contract, trusts will make additional payments. Under a ‘variation of services’ clause in the contract, trusts can also require a change to the contract, for example, to increase capacity, which is charged for through an increase to the unitary payment.