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PPP Units

PPP units are specialized entities that facilitate the implementation of a government’s public-private partnership program. They can have a number of functions, which often include:

  • Overseeing project selection and implementation
  • Providing project transaction advice
  • Building line ministry capacity
  • Attracting private investment for the PPP program
  • Defining policies and processes, and building the capacity of implementing agencies to follow those processes
  • Promoting PPPs within and outside government
  • Approving projects, or advising on the approval process
  • Providing technical support for project implementation
  • Reviewing and overseeing the management of PPP projects for efficiency and affordability (gatekeeping)
  • Improving poor government implementation capacity by consolidating resources and by providing training to other departments.
  • Helping coordinate among government departments and agencies

The functions of a PPP unit depend on the unit's location within the government. Central PPP units located in the executive, finance or central planning ministries may inform PPP policies and provide oversight on the fiscal implications of projects. PPP units located within line ministries may be responsible for the implementation of projects and managing PPP contracts.

Location

The location within government and structure of PPP units depends on their combination of functions, as well as existing institutional roles and experience within government. PPP units may be departments within ministries or agencies, units with some kind of special status but reporting to ministries, autonomous government entities, or even government-owned or public-private corporations.

  • Gatekeeping units are most often located within ministries of finance, or other oversight agencies
  • Technical support units are often housed centrally, sometimes alongside other relevant functions such as procurement, or are at the sub-national or sector level where a sector has a significant PPP program
  • Units with a PPP promotion focus may part of broader investment promotion entities or be established as autonomous entity or state-owned enterprise

Success factors

PPP units vary quite significantly in their effectiveness, often struggling to retain and keep good staff and to assert their role without strong political support. The following three areas can go a long way to ensuring effectiveness:

  • Clear mandate: that defines its functions and responsibilities within a PPP program, and creates the processes to ensure the units’ role is recognized
  • Business plan: that outlines how the unit will fulfill its mandate, including how the unit will perform its functions, engage its partners, retain experience staff, use external consultants, and how the unit will measure its performance
  • High-level political support: PPP units also require high-level political support to fulfill their mandates. Governments must also be committed to implementing their PPP programs and providing a suitable enabling environment for PPP units to be effective

 

Learn More

    • 2014
    • Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank Group (WBG), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), PPIAF

    PPP Units

    PPP Reference Guide Version 2.0

    Government teams aggregating staff with specific knowledge on PPPs are often called ‘PPP Units’. The functions of these PPP Units vary widely, as do their location within Government and team structure— reflecting the variation in priorities and constraints facing PPP programs both between governments, and within a government over time as the PPP program evolves. This section 2.3.4 discusses these specialized units.  The PPP Reference Guide presents a global overview of the diversity of approaches and experiences in the implementation of PPPs, providing an entry point to the substantial body of knowledge on PPPs that has been built up by practitioners in governments, the private sector, international institutions, and academics. It...

    • 2011
    • Emilia Istrate and Robert Puentes
    • Brookings Rockefeller

    Moving Forward on Public Private Partnerships

    U.S. and international experience with PPP units

    In a time of constrained public budgets, leveraging private-sector financial resources and expertise to deliver a range of infrastructure projects has growing appeal. However, these public-private partnerships (PPPs) are often complicated contracts that differ significantly from project to project and from place to place. In the United States, many states lack the technical capacity and expertise to consider such deals and fully protect the public interest. To address this problem, countries, states, and provinces around the world have created specialized institutional entities - called PPP units - to fulfill different functions such as quality control, policy formulation, and technical advice.  This report recommends that U.S....

    • 2013
    • Allen & Overy, European PPP Expertise Centre (EPEC), European Investment Bank (EIB)

    Termination and Force Majeure Provisions in PPP Contracts

    Review of current European practice and guidance

    Termination and force majeure provisions are issues of great importance in public-private partnership (PPP) contracts. They are at the heart of the risk-sharing arrangement between the public contracting authority and its private sector partner. They are important value-for-money drivers for the public sector, assist in risk mitigation and are key to attracting private sponsors, equity investors and lenders to PPP projects. This EPEC paper is primarily aimed at PPP public contracting authorities, PPP policy bodies and public decision-makers generally. It sets out the termination provisions and force majeure provisions most commonly used across Europe, and how they have developed over time and their rationale. Also, drawing from the...

    • 2014
    • European Investment Bank (EIB)

    Establishing and Reforming PPP Units

    Analysis of EPEC member PPP units and lessons learnt

    In coordination with EPEC Members, the EPEC team has conducted reviews of institutional frameworks for 24 EPEC Members (set out in ‘Unit Reports’) a number of which are publicly available on the EPEC website. A central PPP Unit was identified in 18 of the 24 institutional frameworks reviewed. The purpose of this report is to draw collectively from these Unit Reports in order to identify trends and lessons learnt. It is based on information that was correct at the date of publication for each Unit Report, i.e. between October 2011 and March 2014. This report also makes some, though more limited, reference to the experience of the PPP Units and programs of EPEC Members for which Unit Reports have not been prepared.

    • 2007
    • PPIAF

    Public Private Partnership Units: Lessons for their design and use in infrastructure

    This report originated as part of a joint initiative between the Public Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) and the East Asia and Pacific Sustainable Development Department of the World Bank. This paper defines a public-private partnership (PPP) as an agreement between a government and a private firm under which the private firm delivers an asset, a service, or both, in return for payments contingent to some extent on the long-term quality or other characteristics of outputs delivered. It uses a broad definition of PPP because of the different goals of each country's PPP strategy. This paper seeks to answer the question of whether specialist public-private partnership (PPP) units have contributed to successful PPPs.

    • 2007
    • Apurva Sanghi, Alex Sundakov, and Denzel Hankinson
    • PPIAF

    Designing and Using Public-Private Partnership Units in Infrastructure

    Lessons from case sudies around the world

    Public-private partnership (PPP) units for facilitating and managing infrastructure investments have existed for years in many developed countries. Driven in part by growing infrastructure investment, these units have also begun to proliferate in the developing world. While governments often seem eager to create such units, not everyone in the global PPP market is convinced of their value. This issue of Gridlines assesses eight PPP units around the world and examines whether these institutions have contributed to successful PPPs and if so, under what conditions.

    • 2006
    • World Bank Group (WBG)

    Viewpoint: Public-Private Partnership Units - What Are They, and What Do They Do?

    As governments turn to the private sector to provide services once delivered by the public sector, they must learn new skills. An increasingly common way to provide the new capacities needed is to establish public-private partnership units—as new agencies or as special cells within a cross-sectoral ministry such as finance or planning. Making the right choices on what roles such units play, where they are located, and how conflicts of interest are managed is critical in their success. This Note reviews the experience.

    • 2009
    • PPIAF
    • PPIAF

    Toolkit for Public-Private Partnerships in Roads and Highways

    The Toolkit is a reference guide for public authorities in developing countries for the development of PPP (public-private partnership) programs in the highways sector, particularly in assisting in PPP policy development, project preparation and the sourcing and monitoring of external expertise. It provides guidance in the definition of strategy and policy for PPP, the characteristics of PPP projects and the stages for their preparation. Module 4, "Laws & Contracts" https://ppiaf.org/sites/ppiaf.org/files/documents/toolkits/highwaystoolkit/4/index.html examines the legal framework and regulatory environment for PPPs.  It provides a framework for diagnosis and reform and provides the basis for preparation of PPP contracts. Module 5,...

    • 2014
    • PPIAF, World Bank
    • PPIAF, World Bank Group (WBG)

    Caribbean Infrastructure PPP Roadmap

    Experience with PPPs to date in the Caribbean has been mixed. PPPs are not new in the region, having been used to deliver new or improved roads, ports, airports, bulk water treatment facilities, and electricity generation plants. Many PPP projects have operated successfully for years, delivering high-quality infrastructure facilities. Others have faced challenges. In many cases, the complexity of the PPP development and implementation process has meant long delays in delivering projects; others resulted in questionable value or unexpected costs to governments or consumers. This raises a question: How can Caribbean governments successfully navigate the challenges to make the best use of PPPs to deliver improved infrastructure assets and...

    • 2014
    • Asian Development Bank (ADB), World Bank Group (WBG), Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), PPIAF

    Unidades especializadas en APP

    Asociationes Publico-Privadas: Guia de Referencia Version 2.0

    • 2014
    • European PPP Expertise Centre (EPEC), European Investment Bank (EIB)

    Portugal - PPP Units and Related Institutional Framework

    This publication has been prepared to contribute to and stimulate discussions on public-private partnerships (PPPs) as well as to foster the diffusion of best practice in this area. The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the PPP institutional setup in Portugal on January 2014 recognizing that PPP arrangements and processes are dynamic and change over time. The report covers a brief history of PPPs conducted in Portugal, the role and structure of Portugal's PPP support unit Unidade Técnica de Acompanhamento de Projetos (UTAP), policy and legal framework for PPPs, and an outline of the PPP project cycle.

    • 2012
    • European PPP Expertise Centre (EPEC), European Investment Bank (EIB)

    UK (Northern Ireland) - PPP Units and Related Institutional Framework

    This publication has been prepared to contribute to and stimulate discussions on public-private partnerships (PPPs) as well as to foster the diffusion of best practices in this area. This report deals with Northern Ireland and has the following structure: Section 2 provides an introduction to PPPs in Northern Ireland; Section 3 describes the state of the PPP market; Section 4 sets out the role and structure of the central PPP unit; Section 5 presents the role of other key public sector entities in PPPs; Section 6 deals with the legal framework for PPPs; and Section 7 provides an overview of the project cycle.

    • 2012
    • European PPP Expertise Centre (EPEC), European Investment Bank (EIB)

    UK (England) - PPP Units and Related Institutional Framework

    This publication has been prepared to contribute to and stimulate discussions on public-private partnerships (PPPs) as well as to foster the diffusion of best practices in this area. It provides a brief history of PPPs conducted in England, the role and structure of the central PPP unit, the role of other key public sector entities in PPPs, policy and legal framework for PPPs, and examples of the project cycle in England.

    • 2012
    • European PPP Expertise Centre (EPEC), European Investment Bank (EIB)

    United Kingdom (Scotland) - PPP Units and Related Institutional Framework

    This publication has been prepared to contribute to and stimulate discussions on public-private partnerships (PPPs) as well as to foster the diffusion of best practices in this area. This report deals with Scotland and has the following structure: Section 2 gives an introduction to PPPs in Scotland; Section 3 sets out the PPPs conducted in Scotland to date; Section 4 describes the role and structure of the central PPP unit; Section 5 presents the role of other key public sector entities in PPPs; Section 6 sets out the legal framework for PPPs; and Section 7 provides an overview of the project cycle.

    • 2012
    • European PPP Expertise Centre (EPEC), European Investment Bank (EIB)

    France - PPP Units and Related Institutional Framework

    The purpose of this report is to provide an overview of the PPP institutional setup in France.

For legal and regulatory resources go to PPPIRC

Explore PPP Cycle