Understanding PFI Expiry: What You Need to Know

Introduction to PFI

The Private Finance Initiative (PFI) has been a cornerstone of public-private partnerships in infrastructure projects for decades. Under PFI, private sector companies finance, build, and manage public infrastructure projects, with the government paying for the service over a long-term contract period.

What is PFI Expiry?

PFI contracts typically have a fixed term, often spanning several decades, during which the private sector partner operates and maintains the infrastructure. PFI expiry refers to the end of this contract period, marking a significant milestone in the lifecycle of the project.

Implications of Expiry

Transition of Ownership: At expiry, ownership of the infrastructure usually transfers to the public sector, providing an opportunity for reassessment and restructuring of operational arrangements.

Financial Considerations: The end of a PFI contract can have financial implications for both the public and private sectors. It may involve renegotiating terms, settling outstanding payments, or exploring alternative financing models for maintenance and operation.

Service Continuity: Ensuring uninterrupted service provision is crucial during the transition phase. Plans for maintaining service levels and asset integrity should be established well in advance.

Opportunities for Improvement

PFI expiry offers a chance to reflect on the successes and challenges of the partnership. It provides an opportunity to incorporate lessons learned into future projects and to explore more efficient and transparent models of infrastructure procurement and management

As long-term PFI contracts draw to an end and assets are transferred back to public sector control, a review of the service delivery strategy must be conducted.  Fortunately, Help for Schools has a wealth of expertise with which they can guide this process; specifically regarding:

  • Reviewing contract documentation
  • Identifying hand back criteria
  • Procuring and carrying out condition surveys
  • Carrying out a strategic estate strategy
  • Providing facilities options analyses for use of assets post-expiry e.g. retain, lease to a third party, dispose
  • Providing asset valuations
  • Advising on asset disposals/redevelopment
  • Carrying out options appraisals for delivery of support services post-expiry
  • Procurement of support services post-expiry
  1. Government Guidelines and Reports:
  2. Industry Publications and Research Papers:


Hear from schools and trusts like yours that are benefiting from working with Help for Schools.

Help for Schools / Spencer Van der Werf has provided consistent high quality services to our Trust supporting our Capital Projects team deliver changes to our building infrastructure, improving the resources available and facilitating improved quality of teaching. He is able to interpret outline concepts, bring designs to the table, see through the building project management and quality check the final delivery. A great asset to secure your change plans.

Paul Atkinson – Director of Finance, Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South

Help for Schools is a reliable partner for complex projects, delivering solutions that are clear and effective. They excel in continuous improvement and proactive problem prevention in every interaction. I had the pleasure of working with Spencer on a project to convert shower rooms into a classroom, and I was impressed by his detailed project proposal and timely execution. He also identified many benefits, both tangible and intangible, from the project. Help for Schools will always be my first choice for project management.

Rachel Danso – Business Manager, Borough Academy

Help For Schools provided critical support to Day One Trust as we reconfigured our estates and facilities provision. They helped us understand our needs and manage the transition from an ineffective outsourced service to a professional in-house team. Their support included designing our team structure and guiding our recruitment, as well as establishing the systems and processes that team needed to work with. I’ve worked with Spencer and his team for many years on multiple projects and I’ve always found him to be professional, diligent, pragmatic and committed to students by securing high quality and value for money estates and facilities provision.

Fred Sharrock – CEO at Day One Trust

Help For Schools has played an integral role in overseeing and managing a £28 million project – the build of a new secondary school in central London. From the client perspective Spencer has managed effectively the multiple partners engaged in this project, from the comms to the project plan. His strengths lie in his attention to detail, his ability to find solutions to complex problems and his delivery of results.

Declan Jones – Principal at Borough Academy

I have known Simon for several years and he has always been a font of wisdom, advice and an intelligent steer to educational professionals; especially those looking to leadership. What has struck me most about his approach has been his willingness to engage with kindness without the need for reciprocity. Someone with true integrity.

Barry Cooper – Founding Principal at The Global College