Why Public-Private Partnerships don’t work

17 March 2015
Drinking from tap

Public Services International (PSI) has just released the new report “Why Public-Private Partnerships don’t work: The many advantages of the public alternative”.

PSI released the new report on 18 March 2015 at the “SDGs for Workers”, a Parallel Event sponsored by Global Unions at the NGO CSW Forum during the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW).


The report assesses the PPP experience in both industrialised and developing countries and contains a combination of 30 years of research by David Hall, former Director of Public Services International Research Unit (PSIRU) University of Greenwich, UK.

The many case studies analysed, from United Kingdom to Chile, show that PPPs have failed to live up to their promise. In most cases, they are an expensive and inefficient way of financing infrastructure and services, since they conceal public borrowing, while providing long-term state guarantees for profits to private companies.

The author proposes a public alternative to this system, in which national and local governments can continue to develop infrastructure by using public finance for investment, and public sector organisations to deliver the service.

“Public services are massive pools of potential corporate profit, and PPPs serve to access them. The ‘clients’ are captive, the services are often monopoly,” comments David Boys, Deputy General Secretary of PSI.  

“This paper provides a synthesis of many years of research, and should be used by union activists, concerned citizens, but also by policy makers around the world.”

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