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Public-Private Partnership: For Improved Government Performance
A Colloquium of International Scope for Decision-Makers
The international colloquium Public-Private Partnership: for Improved Government Performance, held on October 24th and 25th, 2002 at the Centre des congrès of Québec, QC featured more than 40 speakers from Europe, the United States and Canada. International experts, professionals, and researchers participated in this event where the innovative public-private partnerships that were studied in the framework of the New Models of Collaboration for Delivering Government Services research project were presented and discussed. Selected presentations are summarized below and access to PowerPoint presentations delivered is provided.

Selected Presentations

Main Conference
Peter Ryan, Head of Private Finance Policy & Project, Office of Government Commerce, London, Great Britain Government

Great Britain is considered a world leader in the use of public-private partnerships. According to several experts, companies and governments who fail to adopt these new ways of doing things will most certainly fall behind. Peter Ryan presented the viewpoint of a senior British official. He explained how collaboration between the public and private sectors has become a must in his country, listed the ingredients that are essential to its success, and pointed out the mistakes that need to be avoided. He defined the meaning of a true public-private partnership and explained who its architect should be. He explained key roles, with special emphasis on the role that politicians should play. He dwelled not only on the importance of meeting budgets and deadlines, but also on ways to measure the success of such an initiative.

Workshops
Denis Carette, eng., Officer in charge, Bureau des partenariats d'affaires (Office for business partnerships), Secrétariat du Conseil du trésor du Québec, Quebec, Canada.
Debbie Farr, Director, Ontario Business Connect, Integrated Service Delivery Division, Ontario Ministry of Consumer and Business Services, Toronto, Canada.
Alison Curtis, Manager, Strategy and Planning, Legal Line of Business, Teranet Inc. Toronto, Canada.

Some experts jokingly draw a link between public-private partnerships and marriage: it seems that living together is not always easy. At the very least, the experience raises questions: Can power be shared equitably; can alliances of this type be successful; what are the ingredients for success; how are the low points managed? Joined for better and for worse within the framework of the Ontario Business Connect project, the Teranet company and the Ontario Government have experienced different types of public-private partnerships. During this workshop, the speakers - worthy representatives of their respective camps - gave an account of this union. The partners - according to their individual perceptions - focused on the key factors of success and the obstacles hampering or halting the process. They described their "life as a couple" with its good and bad moments: how they learned to manage their problems, to avoid certain confrontations, etc. They also presented and discussed the various models tested over the past few years.

Jon P. Gant, Assistant Professor, Maxwell School and School of Information Studies, Syracuse University, United States.
Laura Larimer, Chief Information Officer, State of Indiana, United States.
Candy Irven, General manager, Access Indiana Information Network (AIIN), Indianapolis, United States.

Set up in 1995, the Access Indiana Information Network is a private-public model of collaboration frequently quoted as a model. This U.S. state government portal provides information to citizens and businesses, and improves the performance of online transactions. Its policies, design, and selection of interactive services were determined by an action committee made up of State officials, professional association members, business representatives, and citizens. However, this State-regulated network would not exist today had it not been for the massive injection of private funding. Indian@Interactive, Inc, actually handles the daunting task of maintaining the site. The AIIN network includes 100,000 pages of government information from 75 State agencies, departments, and public commissions, as well as Indiana's judicial system.

Sharon Dawes, Director, Center for Technology in Government (CTG), University at Albany, United States.
Patricia D. Fletcher, Associate professor, Center for Technology in Government (CTG), University of Maryland Baltimore County, United States.
Bill Piatt, Former CIO, General Services Administration, US Government, Principal, eStrategy, Booz Allen Hamilton, McLean, United States.

The U.S. Government's official Web site, FirstGov.gov was created at the direct request of the President of the United States. Launched in September 2000, this portal now includes more than 186 million Web pages originating from the Federal Government and various States, the District of Columbia, and U.S. territories. It is designed for senior citizens, students and workers, as well as exporters and entrepreneurs. It features information on a wide variety of subjects like public services, legislation, e-business, etc. Managed by the U.S. Government, the portal has earned a number of awards for its design and the quality of its services. The result of a most original public-private partnership: FirstGov.gov owes its emergence to the three-year loan of a powerful search engine by the Inktomi company. Among other things, this singular donation made it possible to develop this enormous program behemoth in record time (a mere 90 days). This approach also required procurement innovation.

Exchange and Training Seminar
Public-Private Partnership: Strategic Issues
Moderator: Michel Audet, Scientific Director, CEFRIO, Professor, Industrial Relations Department, Université Laval, Quebec, Canada.
CEFRIO & Pivot research team, CTG research team, CITA research team.

This seminar provided a unique opportunity to discuss with experts the potential of information technology as it applies to public-private partnership; compared how Quebec, Europe and the United States view public-private collaboration; and shared practical experiences with actual cases. The three teams of researchers involved in the project New Models of Collaboration for Public Service Delivery discussed lessons learned from their national case studies and responded to issues raised by participants.

Sharon Dawes, Director, Center for Technology in Government (CTG), University at Albany, United States.

This presentation tackles the question "Do public-private partnerships improve government performance in the US?" Sharon Dawes also highlights critical success factors and barriers to these innovative forms of collaboration.