I'm firmly of the view that private and public-sector partnerships have enormous scope to improve public services. Unfortunately, problems arise from a two-way tension between the sectors. The public sector is inherently more risk-averse, wary of private-sector commercial experience and constrained by a public duty to achieve the lowest cost for the tax payer. The private sector is undoubtedly more commercially experienced than the public sector, but does not always use this experience constructively to create long-term partnerships.
Effective partnerships require both the commercial provider and the public-sector customer to be genuine stakeholders in the success of the service.
All too often, however, private-sector companies play a short-term game, provoked in part by price-focused contract tendering by the public sector.