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 15: Using public-private partnerships to deliver social infrastructure: the Australian experience

Linda M. English

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

Extract

15. Using public–private partnerships to deliver social infrastructure: the Australian experience Linda M. English INTRODUCTION Internationally, the past two decades have seen considerable changes in the mechanisms adopted by governments to deliver services to the public. The emergence of New Public Management (NPM) (Hood, 1995) has been characterized by a growing partnership between the public and private sectors to provide services that, in the past, were exclusively supplied by the public sector. The hallmark of traditional Westminster-style government is for hierarchical, vertically-organized, administrative functional units to supply discrete services and report to a responsible minister. Recently the silo approach has given way to linkages across departments and between the public and private sectors, known as ‘joined-up government’ (Barrett, 2003).1 This chapter focuses on one aspect of ‘joined-up government’ in Australia, the growing dependence of governments on private-sector consortia to provide infrastructure and related services to the public. My primary purpose is to provide an illustrative case study of the delivery of health and related services using the Public–private partnerships (PPPs) delivery option in the Australian state of Victoria. Accompanying analysis and commentary draws on the work of Broadbent and Laughlin (1999; 2002), and is framed using elements of the research agenda outlined in their 1999 paper. That agenda focuses on a number of research issues, underpinned by a need to ‘consider whether and how the context of the “macro” economic and other requirements impinge upon the expression of Public Finance Initiative (PFI)2 at the “micro” (organisational...

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