Sample Masters Project Management Dissertation Proposal

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To Examine the Strategies of Achieving Best Value in Private Finance Initiative Project Procurement


The present research is focused on examining strategies for achieving the best value in project finance initiative procurement. The public-private partnership (PPP) mainly includes private finance initiatives (PFI), which are preferred as alternatives for obtaining additional resources and procurement for the big projects that mostly belong to the private sector (Akbiyikli and Eaton, 2006).

It is implemented to reduce the backlogs within the delivery system of public services and achieve the best value for money invested (VFM) (Henjewele, Sun, and Fewings, 2011). According to Regan (2014), the VFM is the principal rationale for procuring the private sector operators that provide public services. Under the contract of PPP, the clients belonging to the public sector achieve value for money through better contracting, collaborative partnership, and ownership of assets.

However, the evidence has suggested that PPP options for procurement realize improved VFM compared to the traditional procurement options (Tang, Shen, and Cheng, 2010).

According to the Iossa research and Martimort (2015), the author has examined risk management within the UK PFI projects’ perspective. However, the study was intended to develop the risk management framework favouring PFI schemes for achieving the best value because of the significant objectives (Henjewele, Sun, and Fewings, 2014). In light of Nisar (2007), the PFI is considered the hybrid initiative for funding projects where the finances are primarily obtained from the private sector.

The primary basis for the PPP is to blend the funds of private and public divisions from the expedition of effectual service provisions (Akintoye et al., 2003). The construction companies involved in the PFI are expected to take three to ten times the profits compared to the profits made on the traditional contracts (Burger and Hawkesworth, 2011).

In this context, the government aims to secure advancement in the services from the investment perspective by upholding a neutral posture on which procurement routes will deal with the B.V. to the stakeholders involved in the projects (Pitt, Collins, and Walls, 2006). Considering the discussion above, the present research will be underlining critical strategies used in the PFI scheme projects for effective procurement to achieve the best value. The main focus of the projects will be the construction industry of the U.K.

The previous research conducted in PFI projects was not exclusively focused on examining the strategies from the perspective of achieving the best value in the projects. The study conducted by Akbiyikli and Eaton (2006) focused on critically evaluating the factors that affect the value for money within the U.K.’s PFI projects.

However, the researcher does not consider the strategies focused on achieving the best value in the PFI project procurement. Considering this factor motivated the researcher to pursue research in this field, which will help the project managers and other stakeholders involved in the project execution. The research outcomes will add value to the existing research, and a new dimension will be proposed considering the strategies for achieving the best value of the PFI project procurement.

Moreover, the outcomes will help the U.K. legislation improve its legal framework for project procurement from the strategies proposed in this research. The research will add value to the existing analysis of the project procurement process for achieving the best value for money (VFM).

Aim and Objectives

The study’s main aim is to examine the strategies for achieving the best value in the procurement process of the PFI projects in the construction industry of the U.K. The objectives of the study are as follows,

  • To study the significance of private finance initiatives.
  • To identify the factors affecting PFI schemes in the U.K.
  • To examine the strategies of achieving B.V. (Best Value) in the PFI project procurement process in the case of the construction industry of the U.K.
  • To suggest strategies for achieving the best value in the PFI for improving the project procurement procedures.

Research Question

Following is the research question of the study,

Q1.  How do PFI schemes help in achieving the best value for project procurement?

Q2. What are the strategies for achieving the best values in terms of procurement of the project?

Q3. What are the challenges associated with the project procurement about the PFI schemes?

Literature Review

Privatization with the public sector retains the basic role for the PFI projects where the main procurer of the services is considered an enabler for effective project deliveries. Furthermore, it also differentiates from the constricting out for the private subdivision projects because it provides the capital properties and services.

In the light of Yuan et al. (2009), the PFI mainly differs from the private-public partnership with the private sector contractors as it also arranges the project finances. Within the context of procurement, the question of the achievement of best value has been given due attention and the risk management of projects. The VFM has to be comprehended with the perspective of performance criteria which is delivered to the customer.

According to Lasa, Ahmad, and Takim (2017), the value for money in project procurement is explained as the criteria used to select the optimal procurement method. The requirements are also used to ascertain which way or bid offers the best deals for the government determined under the policy of PPP, which differs vitally among different nations.

Raisbeck, Duffield has stated, and Xu (2010), the value for money has been built on the country’s effectiveness, efficiency, and economy related to the quality and cost of the resources. Yet, efficiency refers to the output gained from the resources utilized and the effectiveness for matching the desired results with the actual.

The PFI and B.V. (Best Value) are interrelated with the performance parameters because the B.V. is considered the long-term objective for the local authorities. The PFI is regarded as the means for achieving the best value for the projects (Regan, 2014). For the effective procurement process, the VFM has been used by the project managers to ensure that the particular project has been well-executed for achieving the best value.

In practice, this has been accomplished by combining the competitive tendering process with the appropriate set for transferring the risk (Burke, and Demirag, 2017). A significant tool demonstrates the VFM, and the PFI compares the cost estimates made from the private sector’s bids through the independent public sector.

According to Demirag and Khadaroo (2010), it is the fundamental requirement for the PFI procurement projects for achieving value for money. In this essence, the appropriate risks should then be transferred into the private sector. In this practice, the PFI has been elevated from project risks eventually moved into the private sector.

The U.K. government is committed to achieving the best value for the public service provision, which is evident in the implementation for the procurement in the PFI projects; they are aimed towards prioritization for the high standard of the services at the optimum prices (Siemiatycki, 2015). Within this research, the researcher will be reviewing qualitative literature for assessing the strategies involved in determining the best value for PFI project procurement.

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Research Philosophy

The research philosophy explains the credibility of the research related to the philosophical choices that have been undertaken to influence the interpretations, assumptions, and arguments in the research (Neuman, 2013). The interpretivism philosophy of the research deals with understanding objectivism and assuming about the social reality means for the human being that defines the attributes for the proposed phenomenon.

Considering the study’s nature, the present research will incorporate interpretivism philosophy by getting insights on achieving the best value by effective project procurement.

Research Approach

In this research, the researcher will be using the inductive approach associated with the alignment of research questions for considering the numerous interpretations of the realities. The chosen approach has been considered considering the study’s nature, which is focused on the PFI project procurements for achieving the best value for the projects.

Research Design

Two types of research design are highly used in the researcher’s research: qualitative and quantitative research design. Qualitative research deals with the individuals’ responses and perceptions, which give meaning to the existing study phenomenon (Taylor, Bogdan, and DeVault, 2015). On the contrary, the quantitative research design involves the statistical number where the data represented in raw numbers is given a meaningful form for addressing the study’s research questions and objectives.

The researcher will be using a qualitative research design because it will help get real facts and figures related to the PFI in project management. It will be deeply rooted in the comprehension of the views and perceptions related to the research phenomenon.

Data Collection

In this research, the researcher will be collecting data through primary sources as interviews will be carried out from 8-10 construction project managers who will elaborate on the strategies for achieving the best value concerning the PFI initiatives.

Data Analysis

The data analysis will be carried out through the thematic analysis in which the interview responses will be recorded and codified according to the key terms of the research. The responses will be presented in the analysis, which will then be triangulated with the literature to achieve the research’s aim and objectives.

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Akbiyikli, R. and Eaton, D., 2006. A value for money (VFM) framework proposal for PFI road projects. In CIB W92 Conference Proceedings (pp. 18-35).

Akintoye, A., Hardcastle, C., Beck, M., Chinyio, E. and Asenova, D., 2003. Achieving best value in private finance initiative project procurement. Construction Management and Economics21(5), pp.461-470.

Burger, P. and Hawkesworth, I., 2011. How to attain value for money: comparing PPP and traditional infrastructure public procurement. OECD Journal on Budgeting11(1), p.91.

Burke, R. and Demirag, I., 2017, April. Risk transfer and stakeholder relationships in Public-Private Partnerships. In Accounting Forum (Vol. 41, No. 1, pp. 28-43). Elsevier.

Demirag, I. and Khadaroo, I., 2010. Costs, outputs and outcomes in school PFI contracts and the significance of project size. Public Money & Management30(1), pp.13-18.

Henjewele, C., Sun, M. and Fewings, P., 2011. Critical parameters are influencing value for money variations in PFI projects in the healthcare and transport sectors. Construction Management and Economics29(8), pp.825-839.

Henjewele, C., Sun, M. and Fewings, P., 2014. Comparative performance of healthcare and transport PFI projects: Empirical study on the influence of key factors. International Journal of Project Management32(1), pp.77-87.

Iossa, E. and Martimort, D., 2015. The simple microeconomics of public‐private partnerships. Journal of Public Economic Theory17(1), pp.4-48.

Lasa, Y.M., Ahmad, N. and Takim, R., 2017. Government-Led Factors Affecting the Financing of PFI Projects in Malaysia. Advanced Science Letters23(9), pp.8236-8242.

Liu, J., Love, P.E., Smith, J., Regan, M. and Davis, P.R., 2014. Life cycle critical success factors for public-private partnership infrastructure projects. Journal of Management in Engineering31(5), p.04014073.

Neuman, W.L., 2013. Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Pearson education.

Nisar, T.M., 2007. Value for money drivers in public private partnership schemes. International Journal of Public Sector Management20(2), pp.147-156.

Patel, M. and Robinson, H., 2010. Impact of governance on project delivery of complex NHS PFI/PPP schemes. Journal of Financial Management of Property and Construction15(3), pp.216-234.

Pitt, M., Collins, N. and Wells, A., 2006. The private finance initiative and value for money. Journal of Property Investment & Finance24(4), pp.363-373.

Raisbeck, P., Duffield, C. and Xu, M., 2010. Comparative performance of PPPs and traditional procurement in Australia. Construction Management and Economics28(4), pp.345-359.

Regan, M., 2014. Value for money in project procurement.

Siemiatycki, M., 2015. Public‐Private Partnerships in Canada: Reflections on twenty years of practice. Canadian Public Administration58(3), pp.343-362.

Tang, L., Shen, Q. and Cheng, E.W., 2010. A review of studies on public-private partnership projects in the construction industry. International Journal of Project Management28(7), pp.683-694.

Taylor, S.J., Bogdan, R. and DeVault, M., 2015. Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. John Wiley & Sons.

Yuan, J., Zeng, A.Y., Skibniewski, M.J. and Li, Q., 2009. Selection of performance objectives and key performance indicators in public-private partnership projects to achieve value for money. Construction Management and Economics27(3), pp.253-270.

Frequently Asked Questions

To write a Masters dissertation proposal:

  1. Choose a relevant topic.
  2. Provide context and background.
  3. State research questions and objectives.
  4. Outline the methodology.
  5. Include a literature review.
  6. Specify the significance of the study.