PFI contracts take too long to tender for and are attracting bids from too few consortia, according to a new report from the National Audit Office.

The study, Improving the PFI Tendering Process, found that tendering periods have failed to decrease as expected in recent months. The average tendering period was 34 months across all PFI projects closed between April 2004 and June 2006, which is unchanged from the 2000 to 2003 period.

The projects analysed by the audit office also attracted worryingly few bids — between 2004 and 2006 a third of PFI deals attracted fewer than three bids.