UPD Research Seminar: Partnership in PPPs



Understanding how ‘Partnership’ Works in Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) - A Case of Copenhagen Metro


Dr Sophie Sturup



This talk will present the research findings from the XJTLU funded project Understanding how ‘Partnership’ works in Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). The aim of the research was to learn how the concept of ‘partnership’ can meaningfully be created and maintained in a PPPs, and to explore the ramifications of this in terms of other imperatives of government procurement processes such as transparency, competition, and value for money. The research responds to recent developments in PPPs which advocate developing a close, risk and reward sharing relationship between public and private parties in order to closely align the objectives of both parties and reduce the costs and difficulties of dealing with one and other The concern was that this development could lead to one party becoming simply an extension of the other. This would mean a loss of the benefits which are supposed to come from PPPs, while possibly generating difficulties such as profit seeking behavior in government, or public sector malaise in the private party.

This research was conducted through a case study of the long term metro rail service contract in Copenhagen, Denmark. The way that ‘partnership’ is understood and has deepened over the contract period was identified through collection of interviews from parties to the contracts, which were analyzed for the development and transition of cognitive poles (Kelly, 1969; Snowden, 2002). This understanding was then developed through
analysis of contract documents and public announcements to understand the underlying mentality of partnership (Dean, 1999; Foucault, 1991; Sturup, 2010a).

The research provides insight into the benefits of deeper, longer term ‘partnerships’, and the conditions under which such ‘partnership’ can occur. It provides practitioners ideas about how to successfully navigate a balance between the underlying benefits of closer cooperation and the possibility of reduced competitive behavior in re-granted contracts.