The Challenge of Public–Private Partnerships

The Challenge of Public–Private Partnerships

Learning from International Experience

Edited by Graeme A. Hodge and Carsten Greve

The aim of the book is to investigate how PPP reforms function in comparison to the more traditional methods of providing public sector services and infrastructure and who typically experiences the successes and failures of these reforms.

Chapter 7: Traditional contracts as partnerships: effective accountability in social services contracts in the American states

Jocelyn M. Johnston and Barbara S. Romzek

Subjects: economics and finance, public sector economics, politics and public policy, public policy


Jocelyn M. Johnston and Barbara S. Romzek The current international trend toward globalization and devolution has given rise to multiple new forms of government service delivery and governance, including public–private partnerships (PPPs).1 These range from the urban PPPs observed in Europe, perceived by some analysts as ‘corporatist forms of governance’ (DiGaetano and Strom, 2003), to the heavy reliance of the United States Department of Defense on contractors to deliver post-war reconstruction services in Iraq (Center for Public Integrity, 2003). While the precise definition of a PPP is not yet firmly established (Greve and Hodge, 2004), PPPs are generally understood to entail service delivery partnerships between public and nongovernmental sector agents – partnerships that incorporate the sharing of responsibility, authority, risk, and accountability (Linder and Rosenau, 2000). A substantial portion of the international privatization movement that supports PPPs takes the form of contracting (Reidenbach, 1997). The extensiveness of privatization, PPPs and government contracting has stimulated a keen interest on the part of scholars interested in how these strategies are managed by public officials and their partners (Pollitt and Talbot, 2004; Hodge, 2000). In the USA and Westminster, models of governance, parallel trends of devolution and government reform have prompted an explosion of government contracting across various levels of state activity (Romzek, 2000). This is especially true in the USA, with shifts in the locus of control for programme delivery and a blurring of the traditional boundaries among governments, private companies and nonprofit organizations across federal, state and...

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