Isle of Wight Council slammed for return of controversial PFI architect

Chairman of the IWC, Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox said, “The majority of the issues we have are, and have been experienced and caused by that person. I think the public need to know that.”

The PFI contract being signed

Isle of Wight Council bosses defended the decision to bring back the architect of the controversial Highways PFI — to find savings on the contract he originally put together.

Opposition councillors last night questioned the decision, following last week’s announcement the authority plans to make £40 million in savings from the contract.

Ongoing contractual disputes
Jay Jayasundara, of Jasmine Consulting, set up the contract with Island Roads in 2013. He was brought back to advise on the project earlier this year and was paid £32,690 between January and April.

The contract has been widely criticised following ongoing contractual disputes between Island Roads and the council.

£2m savings per year
The council said Mr Jayasundara would be looking at cost-saving options, with the view to saving £2 million a year over the remainder of the contract. However, the savings are, at this stage, just a ‘confirmed possibility’.

Street cleaning, dog-bin emptying, street lighting and verge cutting could be among the casualties.

The initial cost of bringing back Jasmine Consulting will be £70,000.

Paid to identify savings
Speaking at last night’s scrutiny meeting, Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Cllr Dave Stewart, said that during this first phase, Jasmine Consulting will explore the contract and identify where potential savings could be made.

The second phase, involving working with Island Roads, will cost the council ‘in the region of’ £200,000. This work may not necessarily be undertaken by Jasmine Consulting.

Cllr Stewart said the cabinet stood behind the decision:

“If we have got a way, through our contract of saving the council and our public £2 million a year, but it costs £70,000 to bring back someone who knows more about that contract than anyone else, then I am quite happy about that.”

Cllr Peacey-Wilcox: “Majority of issues caused by JJ”
Chairman of the IWC, Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox said:

“The majority of the issues we have are, and have been experienced and caused by that person. I think the public need to know that.”

What about refinancing plan?
Cllr Peacey-Wilcox added the council produced a document in 2015/16, looking at the refinancing of the contract and identifying £20 million in savings:

“That document still exists so why employ someone?”

Responding, Cllr Stewart said:

“I don’t know why the previous administration didn’t do it if it was so good.

“This isn’t about refinancing, this isn’t the outcome we are looking for.

“If we can reduce our commitment to the government grant, and have a contract that’s fit for purpose, that’s better for the council.”

Image: The PFI contract being signed © Isle of Wight Council

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8 Comments on "Isle of Wight Council slammed for return of controversial PFI architect"

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We do not want this man back let alone making more damaging decisions and recommendations to an administration who just don’t understand !

Right, ok. Would any of the councillors like to explain why this contract was “sold” to the electorate as the best thing since sliced bread five years ago, but now it appears we are uneccessarily paying more than £2 million per year just from the IWC coffers? How much more of “government ” money is unecceassary too? (government money of course doesn’t exist; it is tax payers… Read more »
Phil Jordan
Colin, Very briefly, no one in this conservative administration has any idea about what money *could* be saved from the contract. Reading their media and responses in the Scrutiny meeting you’ll note it’s all wishing and hoping. (if I were cynical I’d say they lifted the figure from the Independent alternative budgets in 2017 and 2018 which listed a similar amount of savings *possible* from the PFI… Read more »
Steve Goodman
Thanks Phil. A reminder that, as reported here OTW at the time, for several years ahead of lumbering us with a switch to this painfully pricey PFI, the con. council did have a very good idea of what money could be ‘saved’ by quietly cutting spending on maintaining our roads. Also a reminder that the PFI pushers with their ‘free roads money gift from government’ wouldn’t just… Read more »
Steve Goodman

Or just for Jay, perhaps, as detailed in Private Eye’s latest Rotten Boroughs section (p.16 of PE 1475).

Mr Magoo
Who are the three men in the image? I believe the man in the centre is Jay Jayasundara but the other two are anonymous so what is their relevance to the article? I know they are not Cllr Dave Stewart nor (obviously) Cllr Lora Peacey-Wilcox. I also question that this posed picture is the ‘signing of the PFI’, it looks more like Mr Jayasundara’s notebook than a… Read more »
Sally Perry

That’s correct – Jay is centre and I might be wrong, but believe the others are from Vinci Meridian.

Mark L Francis

He’s not actually an “architect”, right?