Contributed By Winston & Strawn London LLP
Several government bodies are responsible for projects in the UK. Most central government departments have a private finance unit responsible for overseeing projects in their sector. These include the Ministry of Defence, the Department for Transport, the Department of Health, and the Department of Energy and Climate Change, which deals with oil and gas exploration or production projects. In addition to these government bodies, PPP and PFI (where still applicable) policies are driven from within HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office. Furthermore, PPP and PFI are devolved matters and are regulated by the Strategic Investment Board in Northern Ireland, the Scottish Infrastructure Investment Unit in Scotland and the Welsh Assembly in Wales.
Certain regulated sectors are also administered by government bodies, such as the Water Services Regulation Authority (the economic regulator of the water sector), Ofgem (the regulator of the electricity and gas market) and the Office of Communication (the regulator and competition authority for the communications industry). These bodies are, among their various functions, responsible for issuing licences to operate in their respective sectors.
There has been a history of state ownership in the UK, but most of the energy and infrastructure industries have been privatised in recent years.