Private finance initiatives – the handback process

Preparing public sector bodies, operators and funders for the end of private finance initiatives (PFI).

There are ‘over 550 PFI contracts providing or supporting essential public services’ which are due to expire over the next two decades.

Prior to the expiry date, public sector bodies, operators and funders will need to review private finance initiatives (PFI) contracts, check compliance with the terms of the contract and consider the next steps.

Ashfords can guide local authorities, contractors and funders through the expiry period and advise on available options including:

  • Early termination of PFI projects. 
  • Variation of PFI contracts, including project managing the process, ensuring the correct consents are obtained and compliance with the procurement regime. 
  • Expiry of PFI contracts and a full review of the contractual position, including advising on hand-back provisions, requirements and processes. 
  • Refinancing PFI projects. 
  • Qualifying change in law claims. 
  • Dispute avoidance, trouble-shooting and risk management.
  • Construction and engineering defects issues on large scale infrastructure PFI projects, including performance issues and rectification obligations. 
  • Litigation and arbitration support across PFI projects including addressing overlapping construction, projects disputes and interface issues.

Ashfords advises on a wide range of PFI projects spanning education, emergency services, leisure, hospitals and waste. In addition, we advise on adjudication, dispute resolution and distressed projects.

Our experience

Teaching (1)


Financing for project companies


Emergency services

Multi-authority projects, sponsor bids for fire and rescue, police PFI projects and variations


Leisure centres

Defect and maintenance issues



Varying PFI contracts and resolving payment disputes

Wind Farm (1)

Energy & waste

Strategic partnering, core services contracts, variations, and qualifying changes in law


Construction & adjudication

Defects, adjudication, distressed projects, and restructuring

Building (1)


Bringing substantial long term cost savings through restructuring accommodation PFI projects

Heart Hands

Care homes

Rectification works and handback conditions

Find out more

For a more in-depth view of our work, experience and expertise on PFIs, please download the brochure below.

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UK City Skyline (1)

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