There are six critical components of any successful Public-Private Partnership (PPP). While there is not a set formula or an absolute foolproof technique in crafting a successful PPP, each of these keys is involved in varying degrees.
A successful partnership can result only if there is commitment from "the top". The most senior public officials must be willing to be actively involved in supporting the concept of PPPs and taking a leadership role in the development of each given partnership. A well-informed political leader can play a critical role in minimizing misperceptions about the value to the public of an effectively developed partnership. Equally important, there should be a statutory foundation for the implementation of each partnership.
Once a partnership has been established, the public-sector must remain actively involved in the project or program. On-going monitoring of the performance of the partnership is important in assuring its success. This monitoring should be done on a daily, weekly, monthly or quarterly basis for different aspects of each partnership (the frequency is often defined in the business plan and/or contract).
You must know what you expect of the partnership beforehand. A carefully developed plan (often done with the assistance of an outside expert in this field) will substantially increase the probability of success of the partnership. This plan most often will take the form of an extensive, detailed contract, clearly describing the responsibilities of both the public and private partners. In addition to attempting to foresee areas of respective responsibilities, a good plan or contract will include a clearly defined method of dispute resolution (because not all contingencies can be foreseen).
While the private partner may provide the initial funding for capital improvements, there must be a means of repayment of this investment over the long term of the partnership. The income stream can be generated by a variety and combination of sources (fees, tolls, shadow tolls, tax increment financing, or a wide range of additional options), but must be assured for the length of the partnership.
More people will be affected by a partnership than just the public officials and the private-sector partner. Affected employees, the portions of the public receiving the service, the press, appropriate labor unions and relevant interest groups will all have opinions, and frequently significant misconceptions about a partnership and its value to all the public. It is important to communicate openly and candidly with these stakeholders to minimize potential resistance to establishing a partnership.
The "lowest bid" is not always the best choice for selecting a partner. The "best value" in a partner is critical in a long-term relationship that is central to a successful partnership. A candidate's experience in the specific area of partnerships being considered is an important factor in identifying the right partner. The listing of NCPPP members (provided under Council Members on this site) provides a logical starting point for the identification of potential partners or services that might be required in the development of a partnership.