Lunch Session: discussing the role of the public P, with the public P

On March 9th, PPPLab organized a second lunch lecture together with Marc Mazairac (Min. Foreign Affairs) for different departments of the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs and RVO. The experts of the PPPLab discussed together with Dutch policymakers the role of the public P in PPPs and the PPPLab Partnering Process Tool.


The first part of the lunch lecture was around the role of public actors in PPPs, facilitated by Stella Pfisterer (PPPLab). A role inventory highlighted the diversity of roles that Dutch public managers play in PPPs, ranging from financial support, evaluator, facilitator, connector, advisor, designer and more. These roles can provoke various tensions for public managers when managing partnerships. Think about the double role of being a funder and a partner; or ensuring public accountability versus discretion; spending time in becoming a good strategic partner versus time frames and quick output orientation. It was pointed out that these roles and tensions are often highly dynamic and dependent on the partnership, the instrument or the objectives of the partnership. The PPPLab will continue this discussion about the role of Dutch public managers in PPPs and related tensions in a research project in the next months.


The second part of the lunch lecture presented insights on the role of in-country public Ps from the field. Marije Balt (PPPLab) presented the two recently published cases studies from Kenya and Ghana. The studies highlight the main strategies these PPPs developed in working with various public partners especially in terms of building opportunities and managing risks. Dutch public managers pointed out that one of the main challenges for the public P in PPPs is regarding shared responsibility. In order to address this, there needs to be clear agreements. Another point made was that there will always be unexpected situations when working with in-country public P, e.g. due to elections etc. Possible ways to deal with this is to involve various public actors in different project phases, and/or help develop public capacities.

Lastly, Joost Guijt (PPPLab) presented and showed the Partnering Process Tool that is an easy way to quickly assess and reflect on how your partnering process is working. Looking at the discussions from the lunch lecture, a tool like this can be a good way to get more understanding of how roles in the partnership are experienced by partners.