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Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) - A Decision Maker's Guide

Michael Burnett
ISBN 13 978-90-6779-204-2 EIPA Code #: 2007/02 Year: 2007 Pages:

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Book review by EPPPL

Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) are now firmly established in the European political landscape as a means of public service delivery. Their use has grown rapidly in recent years and the main drivers – particularly the gap between the financing needed to modernise infrastructure and improve public services and the public funds available at EU, national and sub-national level – are as strong as ever.
But the way PPP are often implemented is in need of reform. The main needs are to increase legal certainty and the transparency and competitiveness of PPP procurement processes and to develop an approach which better fits the needs of the public sector for value for money.
Yet objective advice for decision makers on when and how to use PPP effectively and how to create the right policy, legal and operational framework is hard to find. Cutting through the jargon and the misconceptions, this book is an independent guide for those facing these challenges at all levels in Europe. In particular, it aims to move beyond the mindset in which PPP is used as the default option for public investment projects without a pragmatic and rigorous assessment on a case by case basis.
Written from a public sector perspective, this book has two main audiences in mind, i.e.:

  • European decision makers responsible for creating an appropriate legal framework at EU level for PPP and wanting to understand the impact of European policy decisions on how PPP are used to implement them
  • Politicians and senior public officials at national level currently facing choices about when and how to use PPP and also how to remove administrative and legal barriers to using them.

After an introduction which explains what PPP are and how and why they have emerged, successive chapters deal with the management of a national PPP programme, an analysis of the policy, legal and operational framework for PPP (including how private sector suppliers and financiers view PPP) and how and why auditors should play a key role in ensuring the effective implementation of PPP.
Finally, the book includes recommendations to improve the future use of PPP, aimed at better legislation, more effective policy making, more effective implementation of PPP and an enhanced role for auditors as the guardians of value for money.
The recommendations add up to an agenda for reforming the implementation of PPP in Europe. It is an agenda which will need political will both at national and European level to implement, but it is one which, as the author argues, needs to be implemented to secure the future of PPP as an option available to policy makers responsible for delivering public services.