Operational Task Force

How We Can Help

Helping projects during the operation stage
Hackney libraray entrance.The OTF’s role is to assist the public sector in improving the operational performance of PFI contracts and to support individual projects in dealing with operational issues.

Its principle functions are to:

  • Provide a free helpdesk facility to support public sector managers on operational issues.
  • Develop guidance on operational issues.
  • Maintain a database of information about operational projects.
  • Gather and make available information about issues raised on projects via the helpdesk, identify market trends and ensure best practice is widely disseminated.
  • Undertake operational reviews of long-term service contracts to provide forward-looking advice to project teams to improve performance.
  • Negotiate codes of conduct with the private sector to provide a consistent approach across older contracts.
  • Manage the Refinancing Taskforce, which assists authorities in applying the refinancing code of conduct.

A wide range of services
The OTF provides a wide range of services to its public sector clients:

The helpdesk was established to provide support to public sector contract managers dealing with operational issues but is available to all. In the first full year of operations, over 200 helpdesk calls have been taken and issues resolved. You can click here to email the helpdesk.

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Contract Management Strategy

Helping public sector clients establish their approach to contract management in advance of the project becoming operational, so that issues such as handover, staff training and contract management and governance structures are appropriately planned for and managed. The principles of best practice are contained within the Transition guidance.

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Benchmarking and Market Testing

Providing hands-on advice and support to Private Finance Units and contract managers who are managing a benchmarking or market testing process. In order to ensure that the process runs smoothly for individual projects, this support can build upon the principles contained within the Benchmarking and Market Testing Guidance.

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Contract Variations

Supporting contracting authorities in negotiating major changes that meet the public sector’s needs on terms acceptable to contractors. Guidance was issued in 2008 setting out a change protocol for existing projects, in accordance with Standardisation of PFI Contracts - Version 4 (SOPC4).

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Contractor Difficulties

Building on the experience of dealing with previous contracts and contractors that have suffered distress, the OTF provides well-targeted central support helping to minimise the adverse effects on public sector bodies of contractors having financial or operational difficulties.

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Contract Reviews
Undertaking operational reviews of long-term service contracts with the primary aim of providing forward looking advice to project teams to improve performance.

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Changes in Ownership of Contractors

Advising contracting authorities on any particular issues regarding proposed changes in the ownership of contractors, including whether or not the change involves a possible refinancing of the project. The OTF will create and maintain a database of information about ownership of PFI consortia.

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Offering a dispute mediation service between contracting parties with the aim of helping both sides reach agreement on issues that may otherwise become contentious and expensive to resolve.

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The existing Refinancing Taskforce continues to be available as part of the Operational Taskforce as a resource to contracting authorities in respect of compliance with the Refinancing Code of Conduct.

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For further information about the Operational Task Force ring our dedicated phone line on 020 7273 8356, or email us at operationaltaskforce@partnershipsuk.org.uk.