The private finance initiative (PFI) transforms government departments and agencies from being the owners and operators of assets into purchasers of services from the private sector.

Private firms become the long-term providers of services, rather than simply up-front asset builders, combining the responsibilities of designing, building, financing and operating assets in order to deliver the services demanded by the public sector.

Standardisation has resulted in reductions to PFI transaction costs and a shorter duration of key stages of the PFI process, particularly the negotiation stage (post-selection of the preferred bidder). 

This section was maintained by James Basham but no longer requires regular updating.