Public-private partnerships are undoubtedly an element of today’s national and international business processes. They comprise a certain approach to bonding state and business efforts in solving strategic issues of great significance. Experience to date and the modest accumulation of theory motivated a joint team of researchers from the International Economic Relations and Statistics Department of Sofia’s University of National and World Economy to address the issue. They carried out a desk and field research on the matter accompanied by a case study.
The paper presents results of the survey and their theoretical context amid the latest studies by EU authors. A particular place is given to the state as a partner rather than merely an authorised principal and coordinator of public facility projects. Both empirical material and the answers sought by modern science reveal a new role for the state and mechanisms for its turning into an effective partner to business. The drivers of PPP projects comprise a priority. The latter have been addressed specifically as incentives and barriers to PPP project implementation.
The development of PPP has accompanied a renewal of the public sector by the adoption of a new management culture which places the citizen or client centre-stage and presupposes accountability as to outcomes, researching a great many diverse alternative mechanisms for service provision and for competition between public and private undertakings in delivering services, while recouping costs and attaining the best quality for the price. Partnerships are part of a general change in government modi operandi and lead to new management models.
The research project was directed at outlining the characteristic features of partnership between the state, business and non-governmental organisations, and then of the most commonly named drivers of such partnership. The subject matter focuses on Bulgarian experience and presents, as pointed out above, the results of a survey of Bulgarian practice. In conclusion, we offer synopses of modern theoretical views in the light of the question as to what is beneficial and what is challenging in public-private partnerships nationally and internationally.
The final results, presented in the paper are evidence of the search by modern states for effective PPP project management solutions. They involve the improvement of business approaches, risk management, and overall control systems. What is basic to this search, which takes different forms in each country studied, is the striving to cut transaction costs, improve the quality of services offered by the state, and last but not least, guarantee equality for the users of these services. The conclusion could be the claim, stemming from the study’s adopted thesis and hypotheses, that successful PPP project implementation is also a function of effective state participation. As regards state involvement, the factors of success are modern, market oriented management, effective skills management, a business approach to PPP projects and guarantees of equality.