The second annual OECD Symposium on Public-Private Partnerships focused on the practical issues concerning PPPs and in particular on the role that special government PPP units can play in making PPPs effective, efficient and value for money.
A PPP unit is usually located in the finance ministry, and is meant to ensure that line ministries use PPPs in a prudent and appropriate manner and not as a way of overriding budget constraints. In addition, the unit serves as a knowledge centre that ministries can use when they contract for PPPs. While there are many studies and conferences concerning PPPs in general, the focus on the role of dedicated PPP units adds value to the ongoing debate.
The first part of the conference was devoted to PPP units. It was based on an OECD report that gives an overview of dedicated PPP units from selected countries and discusses their organisation and methods.
The second part of the conference focused on three distinct sets of PPP issues: issues found in the design and tendering stage; issues involved in the shift from construction to operation; and issues arising if re-negotiation is necessary.
Thursday 5 March 2009:
Session 1: Dedicated PPP units (presentation by specific countries of their PPP units: role, organisation, how they add value).
Session 2: Designing the project; Choosing the partner(s) (where can PPPs add value for money vis-à-vis traditional procurement; what is the role of the PPP unit and the ministry of finance versus the line ministry; how is the tendering process organised; "do’s and don’ts" in the tendering process; how can a competitive market be ensured; how are the bids assessed; how are the contracts written; what role does the political level play).
Friday 6 March 2009:
Session 3: Issues after completion and during operation (What changes are often necessary after the asset has been built and the operation phase begins; how are upsides as well as downsides shared – in particular the refinancing of the project; what is the role of the PPP unit and the ministry of finance versus the line ministry).
Session 4: Renegotiation and accountability (If renegotiation is necessary, how should it be handled; how is possible information asymmetry countered; how is responsibility placed; how are conflicts resolved; how is trust rebuilt).
Session 5: Future work