Edited by Graeme A. Hodge, Carsten Greve and Anthony E. Boardman
Chapter 13: Governing Partnerships
Chris Skelcher The significance of PPP governance PPPs are a subset of the tools of government – institutional arrangements through which public policy is mediated. Their status as instruments of the public interest, yet bodies that actively engage private actors, means that questions of governance are particularly important. The design of appropriate governance mechanisms provides a way in which that public interest can be protected despite the delegation of authority to business concerns. It creates constraints on the agency of private actors, reducing possibilities for self-interested behaviour at the state’s expense. And in contradistinction to the first point, governance structures act as a constraint on the state, enabling private actors to realize the innovative potential that PPPs are intended to promote by virtue of not being part of the state’s bureaucracy. In other words, they promote opportunities for self-governance of public activity by private actors at arm’s length to the state (Baker et al., 2009). The tension between these two purposes of PPP governance is evident in the policy and practice of PPPs, although the weight given to one or the other is influenced by the ideological stance of the observer. Those seeing PPPs from a statist position will emphasize the need to ensure that governance protects the public interest, and thus favour rather more in the way of rules and safeguards than observers who regard PPPs as a way through which risk can be transferred, innovation released and public benefit enhanced. Every PPP failure brings a call for reform in...
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