One of its chief tasks will be to press for change in the legal and financial controls over local government which have proved such a hindrance to public/private partnerships. 4Ps will also try to identify local authority pathfinder projects - in such key areas as housing, heating, education and leisure - which can be scaled down for sue by other councils. It will also compile a database of projects and private sector companies working in public/private partnerships.
It is shortly to embark on a publicity campaign, including a conference in London in the summer and a regional road show in the autumn.
4Ps will run initially for three years and have a staff of six. Following the appointment of Paul Bryans as chief executive recruitment and the rest of the team has begun. It is financed by top-slicing revenue support grant and housed temporarily by the Association of Metropolitan Authorities, which is also providing administrative back-up.
4Ps chairman and Merton LBC leader Tony Coleman said: 'I welcome the opportunity of helping more local communities produce much needed investment in public services through public/private partnerships. But first we must look at what prevents partnerships getting under way and then lobby government and opposition to ensure that, once under way, those partnerships can prosper'.