Dave Sheridan, Divisional CEO of ENGIE UK, explains why trust is fundamental to being successful custodians of public services.
The recent demise of Carillion, and the public debate thereafter, once again raised the question as to whether local government should outsource and entrust the delivery of public services to the private sector. Some campaigners suggest public services should only ever be delivered by the public sector, others emphasise service outcomes in response to service demand, rather than who delivers what.
Trust is a vital component of any long-term relationship, irrespective of who the partners are. Honesty, openness and a willingness to work together to manage risk, services and public expectations are all key elements in building trust. Risk is inherent in innovation and transformation and needs to be shared and managed effectively to support successful outcomes.
ENGIE know that how a business operates in terms of openness, transparency, accountability and collaboration really matters when forming a partnership and in building trust, particularly if and where public money is at risk. From the outset stakeholders must work together with integrity and respect, to have confidence in and a commitment to each other and to be responsible and accountable for delivering shared goals.
It is not hard to see why concerns over outsourcing arise. However, not all partners are financed, operate or account in the same way, and for every contract that generates concern and comment, there are many more that do not. In many circumstances, delivering savings, efficiencies and social outcomes that could never be achieved without partnership working – this should be the focus. These successful partnerships up and down the country are working hard every day to deliver the necessary outcomes in a socially responsible way.
ENGIE is one such example, and are an industry-leading organisation with expertise in delivering energy, services and regeneration. We work with the public sector to responsibly create more sustainable, efficient and vibrant communities through partnership and collaboration. The company has a strong social conscience and stated ambition to play a lead role in delivering a more efficient, increasingly decarbonised, decentralised and digitised world.
Though ENGIE understands the importance of returning a profit to shareholders it is not the overriding objective to do so – ENGIE genuinely cares for and is focused on improving the environment for the benefit of all. From providing the resources, services, expertise and products that bring about positive change in a community, to building, heating and powering the spaces so that communities can thrive. ENGIE knows what is possible through long term collaboration, sustainable initiatives, innovation and establishing trust.
ENGIE is currently working with the NLGN on a research programme investigating Public-Private Partnerships which will be published in the Autumn.
For further information on ENGIE, visit www.business.engie.co.uk/places.