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Public-Private Partnerships: Value for Money in Selection

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Practice Advice on Strategy and Structure

Public-Private Partnerships: Value for Money in Selection (OECD)

Description: The OECD advises that governments should ground the selection of public-private partnerships in value-for-money considerations.


  • All investment projects should be prioritised at senior political level. As there are many competing investment priorities, it is the responsibility of government to define and pursue strategic goals. The decision to invest should be based on a whole of government perspective and be separate from how to procure and finance the project. There should be no institutional, procedural or accounting bias either in favour of or against Public-Private Partnerships.
  • Carefully investigate which investment method is likely to yield most value for money. Key risk factors and characteristics of specific projects should be evaluated by conducting a procurement option pre-test. A procurement option pre-test should enable the government to decide on whether it is prudent to investigate a Public-Private Partnerships option further.
  • Transfer the risks to those that manage them best. Risk should be defined, identified and measured and carried by the party for whom it costs the least to prevent the risk from realising or for whom realised risk costs the least.
  • The procuring authorities should be prepared for the operational phase of the Public-Private Partnerships. Securing value for money requires vigilance and effort of the same intensity as that necessary during the pre-operational phase. Particular care should be taken when switching to the operational phase of the Public-Private Partnerships, as the actors on the public side are liable to change.
  • Value for money should be maintained when renegotiating. Only if conditions change due to discretionary public policy actions should the government consider compensating the private sector. Any re-negotiation should be made transparently and subject to the ordinary procedures of Public-Private Partnership approval. Clear, predictable and transparent rules for dispute resolution should be in place.
  • Government should ensure there is sufficient competition in the market by a competitive tender process and by possibly structuring the Public-Private Partnerships program so that there is an ongoing functional market. Where market operators are few, governments should ensure a level playing field in the tendering process so that non-incumbent operators can enter the market.

Source: OECD (no date) "OECD Principles for Public Governance of Public-Private Partnerships" at (accessed 19 December, 2012).

Page Created By: Matthew Seddon on 19 December 2012. Updated by Ian Clark on 2 January 2013. The content presented on this page is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases. This material does not necessarily reflect the official view of the publishing organization.

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