A multi-billion investment

Jon Wakeford, Group Director, Strategy and Communication at UPP, looks at developing public/private partnerships within HE

Here at UPP we work with UK universities to raise investment and free up resources whilst running a successful and profitable enterprise. We believe that it is possible for everyone to be a winner when it comes to partnership working and have developed a model for working with public institutions that improves efficiency and increases the quality of provision.

We specialise in the design, funding, development and operation of university campus infrastructure schemes as well as delivering a wide range of facilities management services.  To date we have invested over £1.8 billion in the Higher Education (HE) sector and plan to invest a further £1 billion into UK universities over the next four years.

HE is a sector that has a need for infrastructural investment. The UK HE estate has 27 million m2 of net internal space and is valued in excess of £35 billion. This means that it is approximately the same size as the NHS estate. Across the estate there is approximately 7.3 million m2 of space in need of complete refurbishment or redevelopment.

It has a backlog maintenance requirement of £5 billion and Russell Group universities alone are looking to invest £9 billion in campus redevelopment over the next five years.

HE is focused on delivery excellence; excellence of teaching, of research and – in an ever-more competitive landscape – excellence in residential and academic facilities. There is no doubt that academics are the people you want leading teaching and research however residences and other campus services can often be operated more cost effectively and at a higher level of service by specialist operators. And that’s where we come in.

We create bespoke, long-term partnerships of typically fifty years or more; partnerships defined by transparent negotiations, ensuring that our interests are aligned with our partner institution and that the deal provides a strong foundation for the years to come.

Our long-term relationships with universities often result in an institution returning to us following an initial transaction, to achieve a variety of goals. To do this invariably requires both the raising of capital and the provision of a technical or specialist management solutions. It is this alignment of goals and the mutual benefits they bring that makes our partnerships successful.

Our transactions are premised on the basis that each university partner will take a shareholding in the project company. This offers the opportunity of a place on the Board of the project company and a share in any over-performance against modelled returns. Whilst they may have some familiar features, not one of UPP’s contracts is the same and neither are the details of how we operate. Different universities have different concerns, they are each unique in their own way and each of our deals reflect that – be it in the way that shareholdings are organised or how the student experience is delivered.

UK universities are renowned the world over for their research and teaching. It is only right that the estates of these universities can match up to this world class reputation. We’re proud of the partnerships we’ve formed with our university partners and what we have achieved together.

 

 

 

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