PAC Criticises Transport Public Private Partnerships

23 Jan 2018 | 02.41 pm

PAC Criticises Transport Public Private Partnerships

Transport Infrastructure Ireland in the firing line

23 Jan 2018 | 02.41 pm

The Oireachtas Public Accounts Committee is concerned that Transport Infrastructure Ireland may not be getting value for money for projects built through Public Private Partnerships (PPPs).

The committee has decided not to sign off on TII’s 2016 financial statement until it has further information in relation to Public Private Partnerships. Payments by TII under PPPs in 2016 amounted to €109m.

Committee chairman Sean Fleming (pictured) said: “The Committee is of the opinion that there is not sufficient information available on the contents of PPP contracts to ascertain whether value for money has been achieved on TII’s PPP projects. The Committee recommends that TII publish post-project reviews of its PPP projects to ensure that information regarding these contracts is in the public domain and available for scrutiny.”

Chapter 4 of the C&AG’s Report on the Accounts of Public Services 2016 provided an overview of and update on public private partnerships (PPPs), including road infrastructure projects managed by TII. TII’s PPP payments in 2016 amounted to €109m and it was noted that this was set to increase for the coming years. At the time of the meeting. two national roads PPP projects were under construction, to be completed in 2019. TII also had 13 PPP road contracts, eight toll roads and five Design Build Finance Operate Maintain contracts.

The CEO of TII confirmed to PAC that cost-benefit analyses were conducted on all projects, including PPP projects, and cost-benefit analysis reports were published at an early stage in the project cycle. However, TII did not publish post-project reviews.

The CEO stated to the Committee that TII was willing to publish post-project reviews subject to the redaction of commercially sensitive information. Chapter 4 of the C&AG’s report included the following recommendation: “DPER should ensure that post project reviews of PPP projects are carried out after sufficient time has elapsed to allow the project to become fully operational and should ensure that the reviews are published.”

The PAC also criticised TII’s write-offs of uncollected tolls and fines. TII wrote off €5m owed to it from M50n tolls and fines which were not collected in 2016. The PAC said it “expects to see the results of increased enforcement efforts reflected in TII’s future financial accounts”.

IDA Swipe

TII was not the committee’s only target. The proposed reopening of Sandyford Garda station came in for criticism, with the PAC declaring that “the criteria applied to the review did not take account of policing priorities in the Dublin Metropolitan Region”, and that the Garda had noted that projected population growth in the Cherrywood area over the next 10-15 years may require a new Garda station to be opened in the area.

The PAC took a swipe at IDA Ireland for what it branded “inadequacy” in the methodology used by the IDA to verify the number of jobs created by their client companies, which is in essence self-assessment.  PAC recommended a “more robust methodology for verifying the number of jobs”, and reducing the dependence on self-assessment.

Tusla and the HSE also came in for criticism, Tusla for spending €5.2m in non-competitive procurement which failed to comply with Department of Public Expenditure and Reform criteria, and the HSE for weaknesses in its monitoring and oversight arrangements of grant-funded bodies (Section 38/39 agencies) which deliver services on the HSE’s behalf. In 2016, funding of approximately €3.78 billion was provided by the HSE to over 2,270 Section 38 and Section 39 agencies.

• Download the full report.

 

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