Transparency in Public-Private Partnerships

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Transparency in Public-Private Partnerships

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Title: Transparency in Public-Private Partnerships
Some Lessons from Scandinavia and Australia
Author: Greve, Carsten; Hodge, Graeme
Abstract: This paper examines the transparency of public-private partnerships (PPPs). The key question is “How has transparency and accountability been implemented in PPPs?”.PPPs in infrastructure have been presented as enabling synergy and as a major alternative to previous contracting out techniques. These partnerships have most usually involved the preferential use of private finance, highly complex ‘bundled’ infrastructure delivery contract arrangements and new governance and accountability assumptions. Risk management is also particularly important to PPPs. Contracts between the governments and partnering private firms, however, have also been more complex and have not necessarily lead to simple synergy, but to more negotiations and governance structures. One ongoing concern from critics has been the accusation of illegitimacy due to the use by governments of these contracts to hold project information secret, rather than providing details of the deals to citizens. This paper first presents the transparency concept as it relates to modern day infrastructure PPPs. Second, the paper discusses how transparency and PPPs are related, and suggests a typology of transparency based on degree on openness and phases of the PPP process. Third, the paper examines empirical evidence on transparency elements in PPP contracts and governance structures based on two cases from Scandinavia and Australia. Fourth, the paper concludes by observing how different transparency dimensions relate to the different phases in a PPP project, including the important point about the contract institution that defines a PPP. The paper also concludes by suggesting some ways forward to improve transparency in future PPPs to enhance legitimacy.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10398/8572
Date: 2012-11-20
Notes: Paper for the 1st Global Conference on Transparency Research Rutgers University, Newark, 19-20 May 2011.

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