Is Two Better Than One? The Public-Private Partnership

By Chuck Brooks, Vice President and Client Executive, Department of Homeland Security

Public-private partnerships have become essential for many government agencies, borrowing from the old adage – it takes two to tango. These relationships create a vehicle for cooperation that can help reduce costs, build expertise and innovation and provide business continuity and resilience. And yet, these types of partnerships can fail just as much as they succeed. According to InformationWeek Government, such partnerships may fit the bill of what’s “good” for the long-term, but the article questions PPP collaboration as viable.

I’ve discussed P3s before in an article on what you can learn from public-private partnerships and when it comes to P3s working together, I’m a firm believer that the relationship will lead to success based on previous results. Here’s a few successful examples of how the public-private sectors can work together:

#1. Education

In a recent article from The Hill, the public-private model in higher education focuses on five key elements:

  • Increased private support
  • Increased efficiency and cost reduction
  • Funding from the state
  • Sufficient autonomy to achieve these elements
  • Continued public mission that puts emphasis on achieving state goals such as access, economic development and increased college degree attainment

These areas of focus are imperative to the future of higher education and will require teamwork from everyone in the PPP – from state and federal governments, students, faculty and staff, to corporations and foundations. Success will depend on everyone’s ability to work together across both public and private institutions in order to achieve results that are beneficial for students and society.

#2. Healthcare

As a starting point, effective PPPs can translate into better health policies and improved access to healthcare. The most prominent examples can be found in areas where the interests of the for-profit and non-profit sectors naturally converge: health research and development. Could the best cure for overcoming health inequities be to prescribe a regimen of healthy partnerships among the public and private sectors? To effect sustainable change, I think that would be just what the doctor ordered, and it might even help doctors increase their earnings too.

People expect the public and private sector to work together to provide constituents with the services and products that they can’t live without. Congress has recognized that strengthening and maintaining the public-private relationship is not a luxury, it’s imperative. Higher education and healthcare are just a few examples of areas where a PPP can work, but I’d love to hear what you think – what other ways can this dynamic duo can succeed?

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