Before confirming the decision to move to the next stage (appraisal), a list of tasks to be carried out and a schedule should be developed. This will:
- Serve as the basis for the Request for Proposals for external advisors, if needed; and
- Assist the government, in the Appraisal Phase by identifying any consequences or risks associated with the proposed schedule.
The analysis will also consider the time estimate for carrying out all those activities, and an action plan which clearly describes all permits, environmental approvals, and other precedent conditions (for example, land availability), as well as relevant aspects to be tested in legal due diligence.
Such a plan must indicate target dates, estimated intermediate dates, and the duration of the next phase of the PPP process. It should also include a list of tasks, results, and deadlines for each task and approvals/sign-offs needed.
Also relevant for the decision to move forward to appraisal is a first draft of the overall work program for the whole process through to the awarding of a PPP contract, including an overall timetable. In this schedule, the procuring authority has to take into consideration steps described in chapter 2 including (but not limited to) appointing advisers, risk analysis and Value for Money (VfM), legal and environmental due diligence, market testing, drafting the RFP and contract, approvals and authorizations, launching, qualification and classification, evaluation and awarding, and contract execution.
Although it is challenging to estimate such an extensive timetable, it can be an important variable to be taken into account in the decision to go ahead with the project. Analysis of the timetables for previous, similar PPP projects, delivered under similar processes, is a good starting point for development of this timetable. It also helps to manage government expectations by providing evidence of the time required to achieve an outcome.
This analysis will enable the government to include the project in a PPP pipeline with an estimated schedule.
Stakeholder management and communication are also paramount factors for success in delivering a PPP project to the market. These aspects of the project governance are also introduced in section 2.12 below.
It is important here to stress that early engagement with the decision-makers responsible for the different approvals (social, environmental, economic, and finance clearance), in terms of their feedback on time estimates, is a key factor in the success of the approval process (especially in terms of timing).
Also, the needs and resources required in order to implement a project must be clarified at the end of the Screening Phase. The availability of a project team to act as project office must be confirmed. The need for external capabilities should be clearly identified and the costs of such services estimated so as to provide a budget estimate.
Note that the project team/advisory team may be hired at once (a team integrated by technical, legal, and financial experts) or in separate approaches to the market for each set of skills. This is further explained in section 2.13 below.
As with any project, these plans should be developed as part of the procuring authority’s application of good practice project management principles (such as those in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) or the PRINCE2 framework developed by the UK government). See also box 3.12.
BOX 3.12: Key Elements of the Project Management Planning and Governance Strategy