Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Public-private partnerships may not always be the best solution


Recently, there has been a massive growth, in many countries, in public-private partnerships for the provision of public service infrastructure, such as, roads and health care facilities. Research funded by the Economic and Social Research Council confirms the potential benefits of partnerships, but also identifies circumstances under which more traditional forms of procurement are preferable.

The project, conducted by Professor John Bennett and Professor Elisabetta Iossa, Brunel Business School, Brunel University, examined the case for using public-private partnerships (PPPs), and especially the Private Finance Initiative - in which a consortium owns the assets for a period of time.

“We wanted to evaluate the current case for using PPPs, so we compared them to other forms of procurement, looked at alternative PPP models and specified the best circumstances for using the Private Finance Initiative,” said Professor John Bennett. “PPP contracts involve an element of ‘crystal ball gazing’ as they can last for decades and unforeseeable developments will inevitably occur. We used an ‘incomplete contract’ methodology in our work to account for this longevity and uncertainty.”

A major argument used to justify Private Finance Initiative projects has been that bundling allows the exploitation of synergies between different phases of a project, e.g. design, build and service delivery, that induce more innovative and cost-effective solutions. However, the research found that under some circumstances this may not necessarily be the case.

“We’ve shown that bundling phases of a project doesn’t always work in favour of a Private Finance Initiative,” said Professor John Bennett. “As a case in point, newly introduced safety features to a building may raise social benefits, but will generally result in increased operational costs for the skilled labour needed to operate them. In such circumstances, the case for bundling, and therefore Private Finance Initiatives, may be weakened.”

The research also showed that the market value of a facility at the end of a contract is critical to Private Finance Initiatives. If, for example, a building has little residual value despite the contractor’s actions, then it may be preferable for control rights to stay with government - as would be the case under traditional procurement arrangements. But the argument for a Private Finance Initiative is stronger if the residual value of the facility is significant higher than it was in the first place.

The research covers the recent developments of reliance on commercial not-for-profit firms to provide public services and the delegation to a private consortium of long-term management of service provision. A crucial role in determining the desirability of the inclusion of not-for-profit firms in PPPs is played by the links between the effect of investment on social benefit and profit. For example, a negative correlation between the two favours not-for-profit firms.

The case for public-private partnerships apparently depends on partnership structure, operational decisions, residual values and, because of the longevity of contracts, a substantial element of fate.

Becky Gammon | alfa
Further information:

More articles from Business and Finance:

nachricht Blockchain Set to Transform the Financial Services Market
28.09.2016 | HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management

nachricht Paper or plastic?
08.07.2016 | University of Toronto

All articles from Business and Finance >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Greater Range and Longer Lifetime

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VDI presents International Bionic Award of the Schauenburg Foundation

26.10.2016 | Awards Funding

3-D-printed magnets

26.10.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

More VideoLinks >>>