“any proposal to extend the injunction.. would seriously prejudice the project.”

The BBC’s Mark Devenport has some thoughts on the forthcoming Comprehensive Spending Review and a key element of that will be the Workplace 2010 scheme.. which is facing a legal challenge. The Finance Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson, has described the PFI contract involved as a “no brainer” – a phrase which I seem to remember being used before… ANYhoo, he’s also made a statement to the Assembly today on progress on the £1.5billion PFI contract for the Workplace 2010 scheme. The notes to editors reveal unanimity among his Executive colleagues, including those opposing the use of PFIs..

At its meeting on 13 September the Executive unanimously agreed that the procurement of a private sector partner should proceed to Best and Final Offers.

That “unanimously agreed” move is, however, dependent on the resolution of the legal challenge – see note 3 – and that, as the note suggests, could “seriously prejudice the project”.

Those notes in full

Notes to Editors:

1. Workplace 2010 is a PFI contract involving the transfer of some 77 Civil Service office buildings to the private sector. The contract is valued at about £1.5billion and includes a major upgrade of 15 core buildings at a cost in excess of £100million.

2. At its meeting on 13 September the Executive unanimously agreed that the procurement of a private sector partner should proceed to Best and Final Offers. The Executive also agreed that there should be no compulsory transfer of civil servants to the private sector as a result of the contract. There are currently about 300 messenger and support staff by the contract and these staff will have the opportunity to remain in the civil service if they wish to do so.

3. There is currently a court injunction prohibiting the Department of Finance & Personnel from inviting Best and Final Offers. This is as a result of a legal challenge by one of the unsuccessful bidders which was lodged during the summer. The Department is strongly opposing any proposal to extend the injunction on the basis that it would seriously prejudice the project.

4. The review of location policy is part of a two-pronged approach to the issue of location. The Executive has agreed to the review and the development of a framework that would support decision making on the location of RPA related bodies in due course.