Learning from International Experience
Edited by Graeme A. Hodge and Carsten Greve
4. Getting the contract right Joanne Evans and Diana Bowman INTRODUCTION Public–private partnerships (PPPs) are notoriously hard to deﬁne. Stern and Harding (2002:127) characterize PPPs as ‘a loose term applied to any venture that embraces both public and private sectors’. In the wider sense, pretty much any form of public procurement of private goods and services would constitute a public private partnership. This is consistent with the approach of Broadbent and Laughlin (2003:332) who assert that ‘PPPs involve organisations whose afﬁliations lie in the public and private sectors working together in partnership to provide a service.’ In contrast, PPPs may be more narrowly deﬁned as partnerships between the public and private sectors for the ﬁnancing, design, construction, operation and maintenance, and/or provision of assets or infrastructure and associated services, which have traditionally been provided by the public sector (Webb and Pulle, 2002). Liddle (1996:12) argues that PFIs, a narrower form of PPP, are ‘basically a hire–purchase scheme that enables the government to buy big-ticket items without paying cash on the nail’. In the context in which the term is increasingly used, a public–private partnership is constituted by combining different aspects of public infrastructure and associated services to be provided by the private sector (Evans, 2003). This chapter will focus on PPPs in this context in its discussion of contracts. Despite the obvious difﬁculties in reaching a universal deﬁnition of PPPs, a number of key features of today’s PPP arrangements...
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