Peter Fanning leaves 4Ps to join IPF

11 Oct 01
The future of the Public Private Partnership Programme, local government's advisory agency, was thrown into doubt this week with the departure of its chief executive.

12 October 2001

Peter Fanning, chief since 1997, has been appointed managing director of the Institute of Public Finance, the commercial arm of CIPFA. Fanning will join IPF in January.

His departure follows the ongoing negotiations surrounding the future position of the 4Ps.

According to sources, the Improvement and Development Agency (IDA), the body set up to promote more efficient local authority performance, had put in a bid to 'swallow' the 4Ps and bring it under its corporate arm.

But negotiations in July foundered, with both executives from the Local Government Association, which oversees both agencies, and civil servants at the Department for Transport, Local Government and the Regions unhappy with the details of the proposal.

The decision on the future of the 4Ps has now been deferred until after the publication of the local government white paper, leaving it in limbo until early next year.

The chief executive of the IDA, Mel Usher, said he was still in talks with the LGA and wanted to be able to offer advice on working with the private sector. 'We have big plans for the IDA,' he told Public Finance. 'We want to get into helping local authority thinking on working with strategic partners. We want to be the gateway to providing assistance.'

Fanning said he had no comment to make on Usher's plans, although he said he had looked at ways of working more closely with the IDA. He maintained that the future of the 4Ps was assured despite the creation of bodies such as Partnerships UK and the Office of Government Commerce. 'The future of the 4Ps is as certain as that of the IDA,' he said.

The 4Ps is top-sliced from central government grant and has a turnover of £1m a year. It provides advice on the Private Finance Initiative for councils.

Fanning added that he had no firm plans yet for IPF, which provides consultancy and advisory services. It has a turnover of £14m and employs 135 staff.


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