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PPP: The Reset launch event

22.11.18

It’s not often a government minister drops into the offices, but that’s what happened last week when Minister for Local Government Rishi Sunak MP visited to say some supportive words about an important piece of work that we launched.

Read the press release or read the report

 

Rishi Sunak MP visited to say some supportive words about an important piece of work that we launched.

It was the launch of a U+I report on what best practice should look like in Public Private Partnerships - the outcome of months of conversation and consultation with a wide range of private and public stakeholders, as well as civic society, to better understand why PPPs are being questioned and what, if anything, our response should be.

Following those many conversations and discussions, we came up with six recommendations for those entering into PPPs. We are not saying these are the only answers. This is just a start – and the beginning of a national conversation about this important subject. The minister was enthusiastic about the project and U+I’s initiative.

Rishi Sunak said: “What I want to see is PPP working successfully as a genuine partnership with innovative and thoughtful companies like U+I at the vanguard. This report will help ensure we know how to deliver these kind of projects. I commend U+I for speaking so positively and thinking of community social objectives when delivering its projects.”

 

Watch the film

PPP: The Reset - Panel event (The highlights)

Following the minister’s speech, there was a panel discussion chaired by the Editor of the Municipal Journal, Heather Jameson.

Each member of the panel had firm views on what needed to be done. Matthew Taylor, Chief Executive of the RSA, said it was all about innovation and bravery.

“If you make a commitment to a community, you really need to live up to it. A lack of innovation in PPPs is the issue- far too little innovation. Contracting out has not brought innovation. How can you re-imagine PPPs in order to have a sophisticated whole system approach to innovation?”
“We need to encourage the sector to be brave. When anyone in our sector behaves badly it has ramifications, so companies need to enhance their internal scrutiny. If you want to demonstrate a real commitment, then you need to have tougher internal scrutiny processes.”

While for the Chief Executive of The Young Foundation, Helen Goulden, it was about social interaction.

“The way in which developments are designed impacts social interaction. Over many years we have lost lots of neutral safe places where people can bump into each other; human interaction has been taken away. Communities and people therefore aren’t understanding each other. Development is one of the most important ways in which we can build healthy communities.”

 

“The private sector needs to be bold and talk about what their business provides to people, the skills and the training, talk about families supported. It needs to take people with it. If you bury your head in the sand, it will still get cut off”.

Clare Coghill, the Labour Leader of Waltham Forest Council

Clare Coghill, the Labour Leader of Waltham Forest Council, was passionate about the need for private and public sector to work together, and enthusiastic about when it works well.

“Serious money is being stripped out of local authorities. So there is an opportunity for a conversation led by public and political speakers who are more willing to be bold and speak out.

“The private sector needs to be bold and talk about what their business provides to people, the skills and the training, talk about families supported. It needs to take people with it”.

“If you bury your head in the sand, it will still get cut off”.

“Thank you to Matthew and U+I for giving us this platform today, U+I has been fantastic for my area.”

Finally, it was for our very own Matthew Weiner to outline some of the new business commitments we have established at U+I to hold ourselves to account on our PPP projects.

“First, we will be creating a Community Challenge Panel, bringing together representatives from the public sector, civic society and other developers with the specific remit to ensure that we are abiding by the standards we have outlined in this paper. A newly appointed non-executive director will be tasked with establishing and chairing this panel and it will form part of the company’s corporate governance structure.

“Second, one of the first tasks of the new Panel will be to develop a Community Profit Share scheme, so that any profit we make above an agreed projected return on a PPP scheme is shared with the relevant public body and local community.

“And third, on all our major PPP schemes, we will set aside a specific budget so that community organisations and representatives are better equipped to engage more effectively in the planning process.

“Civic trust is the magic glue which binds PPP schemes. Without it, they fray, and fall apart. Trust is clearly a broader societal issue and we’d be fools to think we in the development community can fix it on our own. What we can do, however, is work hard to ensure that the glue is in place at the local level where we are on the ground regenerating, creating, engaging.

“We know that these moves will not fix the reputation of PPP overnight. But we hope they will go some way to restoring trust between all of those involved in these vital projects, and in the concept itself.

“Most importantly, we genuinely believe these commitments will help to deliver better Public Private Partnerships – creating more impact, more reward and better places. Not only will that help improve the perception of PPP, but it will ensure the model continues to evolve, to improve, and to change people’s lives for the better.”

[Event photography: Tribal London]
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