What does Scottish Futures Trust do? According to a press release today it estimates the total value of its work in 2014-15 at £135 million.
The public sector body undertakes the design and building of schools, roads and hospitals. It also looks at where public sector buildings can be used more efficiently and effectively to deliver savings, carbon reductions, or create additional revenue.
Sounds good. SIR ANGUS GROSSART, SFT’s chairman [pictured] says that “with no let-up to the pressure public sector organisations are under, SFT is doing all it can to squeeze the maximum value out of every pound invested and secure additional sources of investment in Scotland’s essential infrastructure.”
But wasn’t this what it was set up to do? And if the Scottish government didn’t pursue value for money, would it not have some searching questions to answer? SFT claims to have managed the £1.8bn schools programme to allow five schools to be built for the price of four thereby benefitting 12,000 more pupils. It also claims to have delivered cost-effective ways to provide wi-fi access to social housing tenants for £1 a week and securing 3,000 affordable-rent homes.
All sounds good. But how do we know if it is good – or if it could have done better?