Title: The governance of contractual relationship: between regulation of the public action and search for performance

Authors: Marcel Guenoun, Bruno Tiberghien

Addresses: Institut de Management Public et de Gouvernance Territoriale, Paul Cezanne University, Aix-Marseille III, 21 rue Gaston de Saporta, Aix-en-Provence 13100, France. ' Institut de Management Public et de Gouvernance Territoriale, Paul Cezanne University, Aix-Marseille III, 21 rue Gaston de Saporta, Aix-en-Provence 13100, France

Abstract: The search for positioning of the public action can be carried out at various levels. Indeed, the methods of public intervention are challenged by elements of context that are to be stressed out. Some authors suggest the – relative – Government|s withdrawal with respect to the public services. Some others refer to the development of local competences, particularly through the decentralisation process or the need for limiting the public expenditure combined with the exhibited will to always better fulfil the increasing requirements of |user-clients|. Within sight of these various elements and through systematic criticisms carried by |user-clients| against a public sector considered as poor performant, various situations of public-private cohabitations take shape. The Public–Private Partnership (PPP), as a new method of collective action, is presented as a tool contributing, to a certain extent, to regulate the public action. Three groups of actors seem to be stakeholders with this new form of contract. Indeed, these contracts gather the requirements of the public actors and the private firms (which are the signatories), but also those of the user-clients. The general performance of the device lies in an harmonious combination of the answers brought to these various requirements. The regulation of the public action and the search for performance going with will be the two entrance points by which we will question the strength and the relevance of PPP.

Keywords: performance management; public–private partnerships; PFI; outcomes; public sector; governance; contractual relationships; public services; private finance initiative.

DOI: 10.1504/IJPSPM.2007.013836

International Journal of Public Sector Performance Management, 2007 Vol.1 No.1, pp.29 - 40

Published online: 30 May 2007 *

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