The 4Ps is back with a new director and expansion plans

8 Aug 02
The 4Ps, the agency set up to help local authorities deliver public-private partnerships, is to expand into all avenues of procurement under a new executive director, it was announced this week.

09 August 2002

Chris Wilson, currently managing director of AEP Resources and a former consultant with PricewaterhouseCoopers, will take the helm at the 4Ps from September. His appointment follows a wide-ranging review of the organisation's future by Robin Wendt, which was due to be completed by the end of last year.

The Local Government Association, which governs the agency, has kept Wendt's conclusions under wraps but sources said it was eager to keep the 4Ps going as an alternative to the Improvement and Development Agency. The LGA blocked moves by the IDA, which it also governs, to subsume the 4Ps last summer.

The review came amid growing criticism that the 4Ps' services no longer reflected the increasingly complex and innovative market for PPPs. Its former chief executive, Peter Fanning, left in January and it has since been run by a part-time chief.

John Rees, director of central services at the LGA, told Public Finance that the 4Ps would take on a wider role 'to reflect what's going on in terms of all procurement and not just in PPPs'. He added that there would be no expansion of its workforce in the short-term until the LGA debated its £1m top-sliced grant in the autumn.

But the 4Ps may find it an increasingly competitive market. It has been in limbo over the past nine months while the IDA has been consolidating its position as the key agency for procurement. The IDA launched a free advisory service, Idea Procurement, in July, and won official backing in the government's response to the Byatt report. It also runs Marketplace, an on-line procurement service.


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