Research Project

Beyond Contract: What makes a PPP successful?

Welcome to a world where ‘partnership’ means just that; where resorting to referring to the binding contract is a sign of failure; and where it is easy to feel isolated, as though you are solving a set of unique problems that no-one else is dealing with. Welcome to the world of senior practitioners involved in Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), a world seldom discussed in policy circles, where the focus is on deal-making, not what happens after a partnership deal has been signed.

NLGN has worked with the University of Brighton Business School to find out what PPPs feel like from the perspective of senior practitioners, drawn from all sectors across a wide range of partnerships and service areas. They tell a different story from that told by policy-makers, and their analysis tells us things that we cannot learn from the type of input/output analysis usually applied to PPPs and PFI schemes. This report contains the findings of this qualitative research, and will be of interest to policymakers, practitioners, and any organisations starting down the partnership route, or considering it.

Beyond Contract: What makes a PPP successful? does two things. It clarifies what partnerships look like from the inside, and encourages policy-makers and deal-makers to take this into account. The central point is that senior practitioners are trying to move ‘beyond contract’ to ensure that partnership means just that – partnership. Second, the report outlines – stage by stage as a partnership progresses – what the key principles are that a real partnership needs to achieve, and suggests practical ways of doing so.

The report is the seventh publication in NLGN’s ‘Delivering Change’ series, which aims to help senior officers and elected members learn from practical evidence of change to respond positively to the local government modernisation agenda.

Beyond Contract Summary.pdf
(PDF: Foreword & First Chapter version)