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|Title: ||Local government service partnerships : a background (key note commissioned paper)|
|Authors: ||Sohail (Khan), M.|
|Issue Date: ||2004|
|Citation: ||SOHAIL, M., 2003. Local government service partnerships : a background (key note commissioned paper). [Presented at:] Commonwealth Local Government Forum Conference, Pretoria, South Africa, 4-6 March|
|Abstract: ||There has been much discussion in recent years about the potential benefits of involving the
private sector in the delivery of urban services previously regarded as the domain of the public
sector. Many cities in the developing world have begun to follow this trend in spite of a very
different operating context where service coverage is restricted and tariffs heavily subsidised.
Whilst it may be useful to learn from the experience of partnerships in the developed world it is
clear that to make such partnerships effective requires that they be moulded to the specific
context within which they are to be located.
In many Commonwealth countries that context is one where public institutions are chronically
weak, infrastructure coverage is limited or poorly maintained, the private sector is unproven
and often informal, rates of cost recovery are low, and regulatory rules and agencies have little
impact. Here, the service delivery problem is most often concerned with the need for
substantial network expansion to new, informal and marginal settlements as well as the
rehabilitation of the existing network. Many customers have had limited access to services and
are unfamiliar with formal delivery systems and regular payment.
In contrast, the context of the north is one of power and plenty: strong institutional capacity,
extensive service networks and infrastructure, a mature private sector superior in efficiency
and management capacity, and appropriate and enforceable regulatory frameworks. Shifting
from public provision of local services to public-private partnership was, in the main, a process
of transferring functioning universal services within an established cost recovery system. The
aim of private sector involvement is to introduce greater efficiencies in service delivery and
generating additional investment, but it is is noteworthy that there is no necessary correlation
between improved efficiency and private ownership per se, and it is equally possible top argue
that improved performance is the result of improved competition.
These differences underscore the importance of country or regional specific analysis and
action within a broad framework of options and arrangements. Although this paper discusses
experiences, issues and challenges in partnerships more generally it highlights the particular
context of developing countries where one of the main issues concerns the participation of the
poor and the impact of service delivery arrangements – including partnerships – on the poor.
This pro-poor focus aims to contribute to an understanding that would assist targeting
partnerships at poor communities to ensure that benefits are more evenly distributed and
equitably managed in situations where the poor comprise a significant proportion of the total
|Description: ||This is a conference paper.|
|Appears in Collections:||Conference Papers (WEDC)|
Conference Papers (Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering)
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