Edited by Graeme A. Hodge, Carsten Greve and Anthony E. Boardman
Chapter 5: Reviewing Public–Private Partnerships: Some Thoughts on Evaluation
Graeme A. Hodge Introduction The performance of PPPs has seen wide debate. It has been characterized, though, as much by colourful and provocative rhetoric as by informed evidence-based observations. But given the breadth of available evaluation techniques, what awaits us if we want to properly assess PPPs? And what exactly do we mean by ‘evidence’ in evaluations? It is on these issues that this chapter offers some thoughts. It has already been noted that the PPP phenomenon covers a wealth of different meanings, including the taxonomy of five families1 noted in Chapter 1. One family, the long-term infrastructure contract (LTIC) category itself also encompasses a wide variety of arrangements aiming to provide infrastructure through legal contracts with consortia. Such public infrastructure PPPs have, throughout history, had multiple stakeholders, whether those associated with the project under way, or those with a common interest in the public decisions being made. Also, such PPPs these days directly involve a range of professional disciplines: from law and finance, through to accounting, economics and project management. Moreover, there are also several disciplines interested in these PPPs given that they are matters of public interest, including public policy, political science, regulation and governance. The implication of these observations is that any attempt at evaluating PPPs as an infrastructure delivery mechanism is likely to be subjected to the usual policy evaluation difficulties and language-games at the same time as incorporating inherently technical aspects. Such evaluation discussions are certainly not likely to be limited to one single disciplinary...
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