Traditional PPPs are sometimes considered slow and not sufficiently responsive to changing needs. How are different countries developing and managing private-public partnership projects?
Until recently the construction of new schools and universities was usually funded directly by the public sector, whether at national or local level, through borrowing. However, in a number of countries, traditional procurement has been considered slow and not sufficiently responsive to changing needs and rising community expectations, and not able to deliver on time and within budget. The public-private partnership (PPP) process has been introduced with the expectation that it would provide a more disciplined process to ensure that projects are delivered on time, within budget and to the quality required. In addition, the process places the onus on the private sector to develop innovative solutions, demonstrate value for money and to take on and manage a proportion of the associated risks. It provides strong incentives for the private sector to be single-minded about the project, to press on with the work and get it finished as they do not get paid if the work is not completed within the contracted timelines and budget. The process is intended to introduce innovation and also free up staff’s time to allow them to concentrate on their core business of student education and school administration.
To explore how different countries are developing and managing PPP projects, OECD/CELE in co-operation with the School Building Organisation in Greece, organised an international conference entitled “Better Value for Schools: Making Public-Private-Partnerships Work for Educational Infrastructure” in Athens, Greece from 30-31 May 2011. The conference was arranged around five panels: overview of the global environment in PPPs; project identification and due diligence; procurement/bridging the gap between planning and implementing; moving towards contract management; and summarising key benefits and key risks of PPPs in education.
The event attracted 90 participants from some 18 countries, in addition to international lending agencies such as the European Investment Bank, World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. As Greece is currently at the tender stage with three PPP projects – with 22 school buildings in Attica (two tenders, total project cost EUR 125 million) and 16 schools in Thessaloniki (total project cost EUR 89 million) – the conference also attracted local bankers, lawyers, representatives of ministries of finance, infrastructure and regional development, architects and teachers.
The OECD/CELE Secretariat wishes to thank the School Building Organisation for hosting a successful and memorable event. All presentations from the conference are available at www.bettervalue4schools.gr.
For further information, contact Hannah.vonAhlefeld@oecd.org.