Why public-private partnerships (PPPs) are still not delivering!

PPPs report COVER for web 2020

(14 December 2020) Today, Eurodad (the civil society network advocating for democratically controlled, gender just and human rights-based financial and economic systems) and EPSU (The European Federation of Public Service Unions) are launching a report about the broken promises of public-private partnerships (PPPs).

PPPs are a real buzzword in Europe. We are constantly surrounded by claims that the private sector is more efficient and better placed to deliver public services, but is it true?

This study shows that in fact, the contrary is true.

There are eight main reasons why PPPs are not working:

1. PPPs do not bring new money – they create hidden debt.

2. Private finance costs more than government borrowing.

3. Public authorities still bear the ultimate risk of project failure.

4. PPPs don’t guarantee better value for money.

5. Efficiency gains and design innovation can result in corner-cutting.

6. PPPs do not guarantee projects being on time or on budget.

7. PPP deals are opaque and can contribute to corruption.

8. PPPs distort public policy priorities and force publicly run services to cut costs.

The fact that the European Parliament is voting tomorrow on a resolution on the implementation of water policy in the European Union, where PPPs are being promoted, is surprising to say the least. Water is one of the many sectors that the report touches upon, together with transport, health, energy and a long list of others.

It is now time for policy makers to look at the hard facts. We hope this report will contribute to a new outlook.

The study was Commissioned by EPSU and Eurodad, Written by Jane Lethbridge (PSIRU) and Pippa Gallop and it was coordinated by Richard Pond (EPSU) and María José Romero (Eurodad).

For the full study in English

Other languages: FR - ES - DE - IT