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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

Follow the link below for more information about the role of the NDFA.

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Information on the progress of any project being procured by the NDFA is available on the Projects page, where it is possible to search for a project by sector, project stage or project type

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A Public Private Partnership (PPP) is a contractual arrangement between a public and private sector partners for the delivery of infrastructure and/or services.

In exchange for this, the State pays a monthly unitary charge commencing when construction of the building is complete and it is available for occupation. The duration of the services element of a PPP contract (and payment of the unitary charge) is usually 25 years. There are different models of PPP contract however the NDFA typically pursues the “availability” based model. Under this type of contract the PPP Co. designs, builds, finances and maintains public facilities on sites provided by the State. Payment of the amount of monthly unitary charge is dependent on the facility (or parts thereof) meeting the defined availability criteria and the satisfactory performance of associated services by the PPP Co.

View our short video "What is a PPP?"

An examination of the rationale for the use of PPPs which was undertaken by the Interdepartmental/Agency group on PPPs was published in a report prepared by the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform. Click here for a link to this report on the DPER website.

The NDFA provides financial advice to State authorities in respect of public investment projects which are referred to it with a capital value over €75m. The NDFA may also provide financial advice on certain projects below this threshold. In addition to this the NDFA provides assistance to the Department of Education in the procurement of certain Exchequer Funded educational facilities.

PPP Companies appointed by the NDFA are selected via advertised tender competitions held in accordance with EU and national procurement regulations. Competitions are typically two-stage with between 2 and 4 prequalified parties invited to tender following an open, competitive, pre-qualification stage. The objective of the tender stage is to identify the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (“MEAT”) based on pre-defined award criteria. Usually a combination of price and qualitative criteria (which may include, for example, design quality and quality of services) are included based on the specific characteristics of a project which will have been defined prior to tenders being submitted. Following assessment, the tenderer that submitted the MEAT is then appointed as the successful preferred tenderer.

All appointments of external advisors are made via competitive tender. Advisor competitions are advertised in accordance with national and EU procurement regulations.

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PPPs rely on a broad supply chain, from professional service providers to construction contractors and facilities management providers. All competitions in which the NDFA are procuring works and/or services are advertised on www.etenders.gov.ie and/or the OJEU as appropriate. Subcontracting opportunities exist throughout the PPP supply chain. From time to time the NDFA, in conjunction with Enterprise Ireland, organises “Meet the Buyer Events” for specific projects or programmes.

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Whilst timelines may vary depending on the scale and complexity of a project, the NDFA’s target PPP procurement timeline is thirteen months from publication of a contract notice in the OJEU to contract award.

The Department of Public Expenditure and Reform central guidance “Guidelines for the use of Public Private Partnerships (PPP)” (2019) outlines four formal value for money (VfM) tests to be carried out at the following stages during the PPP procurement process:

the first VfM test is at PPP procurement assessment - a test carried out to determine whether, and in what form, a PPP arrangement has the potential to offer the best value for money solution for the procurement;

the second VfM test at completion of the PSB - to determine whether, in light of the quantifications in the PSB, the conclusion reached in the PPP procurement assessment still holds;

the third VfM test at tender evaluation stage - to compare the highest ranking bid against the PSB, allowing for the differing impact of taxes, etc., to assess whether the highest ranking bid offers a potential value for money solution;

the fourth VfM test at or around financial close - a final test carried out to assess the impact of any changes in price (including changes in interest rates and/or discount rates) when compared to the PSB.

The PSB represents the calculation of the cost of achieving the same objective under the PPP contract via Exchequer Funded procurement.