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34th Annual Conference – Belfast, UK
3-5 September 2018

Track 8: Infrastructure Investment through Public-Private Partnerships

Lead: Sharon McClements, Ulster University (s.mcclements@ulster.ac.uk), Andrew McErlane, Ulster University, Des McKibbon, Northern Ireland Assembly

The prevalence of infrastructure investment as a catalyst for socio-economic development has been well documented. It can be influential both in the short-term through job creation, as well in the medium to long-term through wider benefits and externalities. Infrastructure investment is thus an essential pillar to a vibrant and functioning society. Yet, against the backdrop of capital retrenchment, it has become acutely apparent, the public-sector no longer possess the capacity to address all infrastructure demands. To bridge this gap, there is greater appetite for augmented private-sector involvement in public-services and infrastructure provision. A model capable of encouraging greater private-sector participation is Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) (OECD, 2014).

Though the Private Finance Initiative (PFI) can be considered the archetypal PPP framework in the UK, more recently, Public-Private Partnerships (PPP) has manifest as an umbrella term used to describe a proliferation of infrastructure investment mechanisms which constitute a partnership between the public and private sectors (Haran et al., 2013). PPP advantageously can unlock economic growth and enhance the quality of life for all in society through investment into economic and social infrastructure. Nonetheless, post the onset of the 2007/08 Global Financial Crisis, PPP has lost traction in the UK. The erosion of infrastructure investment appetite on the part of conventional lenders in addition to concerns of poor Value for Money (VfM) in provision frameworks has been reflected through diminished market activity and the conceptualisation of new PPP modalities (HM Treasury, 2012).

With some contracts spanning 25+ years, project success is predicated on the long-term commitment and sustained collaboration among key stakeholders. Still, acute transformations in the UK marketplace have culminated in a profound shift of the PPP paradigm. As alternative sources of capital permeate the UK market to replace conventional lenders, in tandem with the introduction of nuanced PPP frameworks, there is a forthcoming prominence for greater understanding and appreciation of key stakeholders and these concomitant new unknown project dynamics. Literature signposts historically a failure to align stakeholder aims and objectives has served to promote poor stakeholder relationships (Akintoye and Kumaraswamy, 2016). Thus, this track seeks to explore the stakeholder barriers to PPP and the innovations in PPP models that seek to enhance and nurture stakeholder relationship. In doing so, we aim to build upon existing knowledge on PPP stakeholders relationships and welcome contributions that consider the dynamics of stakeholder relationships in PPP through an examination of:

Such contributions will help give better understanding of the dynamics of long term stakeholder relationship in infrastructure investment and thus serve to deliver a platform for greater investment.


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