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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



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First Published December 9, 2020 Research Article


Building on recent works that stress the importance of stakeholder engagement in partnerships, we propose a novel benchmarking framework for the evaluation of public–private partnerships. This framework describes mutuality and the preservation of organisational identity as the ideal characteristics of partnerships because they, in turn, encourage stakeholder support for public–private partnerships. Applying this framework to infrastructure public–private partnerships in Ireland, we note that mutual accountability has been weakened following the financial crisis. Meanwhile, con-sultation with clients such as key public–private partnership stakeholders, which would help articulate organisational identities, remains patchy across the education, justice
and health public–private partnership that we investigate. Nonetheless, there are sectoral differences. In education, consultation centres on school principals while ignoring teaching staff and trade unions. In justice, attention is focused primarily on judges. Similarly, in health sector public–private partnerships, there is a strong focus on clinicians. Overall, private sector-driven consultation efforts are primarily pragmatic, with a focus on preventing delays and the dissatisfaction of key clients who could prevent future projects from materialising. We suggest that the combination of this calculated approach to consultation, together with the delegation of public–private partnership contracting to an arm’s-length government agency, is likely to promote a similar depoliticisation of Irish public–private partnerships as has been observed in other countries.


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