Public private partnership are now firmly at the top of the government’s political agenda.
The procession of union leaders through the front door of Number 10, the constant scare stories in the media and the upset at Wyre Forest in the general election will help ensure that it is kept there.
But it was the publication last week of the Institute of Public Policy Research’s report on PPP that stirred up the most interest.
Well trailed beforehand, the report looked at the shortcomings of the private finance Initiative and the possible options now available for future public private partnerships.
But trying to find general information on the whole subject is less than easy, with search engines throwing up many passing references, but nothing of any great depth.
Even ukonline.gov.uk, the government’s new portal, is not helpful, so if you want information on PFI and PPP you will need to look elsewhere.
The obvious starting point is the IPPR’s site, www.ippr.org.uk.
The site is simple but neatly set out, nothing too flash but with a subtle air of authority.
Here you can download a summary of the report, but unfortunately you cannot order the full report online – instead you have to open a pdf file, print off the order form and post it to the institute.
That aside, this is a good site that helpfully highlights some of the leading debates in the public finance arena, and gives a clue to the way Blair is thinking.
It is certainly worth having a look around the website’s research page, which has details of areas such as corporate social responsibility and sustainability, which are also creeping up the political agenda.
The quasi-government organisation Partnerships UK is useful and informative.
www.partnershipsuk.org.uk sets out how the organisation is helping various bodies deal with PFI and PPP.
Partnerships UK is itself a public private partnership in which the government holds a significant minority stake.
It is being promoted by the government to take forward and expand the work of the now-defunct Treasury Taskforce in developing public-private partnerships.
There are plenty of FAQs on the site, coupled with detailed information on how it can help bring together private and public partners. The guidance sections are worth looking at, as are the news and careers pages.
The site is very bland but as it is an information service it does not need to be flash.
The www.privatefinance-i.com site is far more commercial, with a good website to match.
Backed by information and research company SMi, there is plenty of free analyses and reports, though some of the full research can cost up to #595.
The discussion forums look like they could be particularly interesting.
For the union’s take on PPP, probably the best starting point is Unison’s site.
At www.unison.org.uk, go to the campaigns section and click on PFI to see where the UK’s largest union stands on the issue.
Again, not the flashiest site – perhaps the union does not want to be seen to be frittering away members, money – but it certainly gives an alternative view.
Interestingly, the paucity of links on this site adds to the feeling that there is not enough information on the web about public private partnerships.
OUR TOP FOUR SITES
Simple, clear site that aims to set out the Blairite vision covering public/private finances. Good for other policy issues as well.
Government-backed public private partnership website, good source of information with detailed FAQs.
The union’s take on PPP, a good alternative. Not the most extravagant site, the union is clearly careful with its budget.
Commercial site aimed at promoting PPP, some free research but most is charged for. Interesting discussion forums.
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