Tuesday, 10 December 2019

Questions (656)

Eoin Ó Broin

Question:

656. Deputy Eoin Ó Broin asked the Minister for Housing, Planning and Local Government if the public sector benchmark exercise for bundle 1 of the PPP social housing scheme will be published. [51137/19]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Housing)

The Social Housing Public Private Partnership (PPP) Programme involves an investment with a capital value of €300 million. It is to deliver approximately 1,500 social housing units in total, via three bundles. The first bundle, which comprises six PPP sites, will provide 534 units in the Greater Dublin Area. Two of the sites are located in the Dublin City Council area with one each in the County Council areas of South Dublin, Kildare, Wicklow and Louth.

The Public Sector Benchmark (PSB) is an essential part of any PPP project. It contains commercially sensitive information in relation to the methodology used for costing public sector projects and for the pricing of risks by public sector bodies. Current policy is that the final PSB, or any elements thereof, is not made public during the process. This is on the basis that revealing the amount that the State may pay for a service may give tenderers an opportunity to increase their asking price above what they might otherwise seek. This rationale is maintained where it is intended to procure further similar projects in the near future as is the case with the Social Housing PPP Programme.

Construction on all sites in Bundle 1 of the programme is continuing at present. I can also confirm that financial close on Bundle 2 was reached on 27 November 2019. Details in relation to Bundle 2 can be found on the Rebuilding Ireland website here:

https://rebuildingireland.ie/news/contract-awarded-for-465-social-housing-units-under-bundle-2-of-ppp-programme/

In addition, the finalisation of the site selection process for Bundle 3 is nearing completion and it is anticipated an announcement will be made shortly. Bundle 3 will follow the same structure as Bundles 1 and 2. As such, and a result of the ongoing construction on Bundle 1 and the potential impact on value for money for the State for the future contract for Bundle 3, it would not be appropriate to release the PSB for Bundle 1 of the programme at this time.

However, I can confirm that the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform has indicated that following the completion of the construction phase of a PPP, once an appropriate period of time has elapsed, and the commercial sensitivity of the information on the project is no longer an issue (having regard also to any other similar PPP projects, which may be in pre-procurement), the PSB should be made public.