Since the late 1990’s, significant infrastructure projects have been delivered on behalf of the State using the PPP approach, including the Pilot Schools Bundle (2002), the National Maritime College (2004), the Cork School of Music (2007), the Criminal Courts Complex (2009), the National Conference Centre (2010), further Schools Bundles and of course a number of major motorway projects from 2005 onwards.
In July 2012, the Government announced plans for a major new €1.4 billion PPP programme (as part of a €2.25 billion stimulus programme of investment in public infrastructure projects). This comprised 8 new PPP projects across the Health, Justice, Transport and Education sectors. This was followed up with a second phase of the PPP programme announced in 2014, to deliver 1,500 social housing units with a value of c€300m, and a third phase announced in 2015, to deliver projects to a value of c€500m across the Higher Education, Health and Justice sectors. These projects are, and will be, pursued under the PPP model.
As outlined in the National Development Plan, PPPs will continue to feature as a procurement option available to Government for appropriately structured projects which demonstrate value for money over a traditional procurement option and which meet the robust and rigorous tests for project appraisal that apply to all public investment projects under the Public Spending Code.
As also outlined in the NDP, all potentially suitable large scale projects within the Plan are to be assessed, as part of the Public Spending Code requirements, in terms of the optimal procurement option for the project – traditional or PPP.
Accordingly, decisions on pursuing further projects by PPP, over and above the existing pipeline of future projects already mentioned, will in future be taken on a case by case basis rather than as a specific programme of PPP projects - based on the merits of using PPP in the case of each individual project as compared with the alternative traditional procurement option.