Von Carl Waßmuth / GiB
Großbritannien stellte für die Deutsche Politik ein Vorbild dar, als man hierzulande begann, PPP massiv zu fördern. Und in der Tat wurden auf der Insel schon vor 20 Jahren PPP-Verträge in gewaltiger Höhe abgeschlossen. Allerdings war Großbritannien auch Vorreiter im spektakulären Scheitern der Verträge: Gut ein Drittel der Projekte wurde vorzeitig abgebrochen, insbesondere die Londoner Metro hat dieser Entwicklung zu unrühmlicher Bekanntheit verholfen. Wohl auch deswegen entschloss man sich 2011 im Unterhaus, PPP (dort mittlerweile PFI oder PF2 genannt) umfassend auszuwerten und kam zu dem Ergebnis, dass die Nachteile die Vorteile deutlich überwiegen: „The Committee has not seen any convincing evidence that savings and efficiencies during the lifetime of PFI projects offset the significantly higher cost of finance“, (www.gemeingut.org/2011/10/warum-die-briten-ppp-nicht-mehr-mogen/).
Nach klassischer Vorstellung geht es bei PPPs um eine Infrastruktur der Daseinsvorsorge, die von einer Privatfirma neu gebaut oder saniert und dann 20 Jahre oder länger privat betrieben wird. Es gibt aber auch die beunruhigende Entwicklung, ganze Bereiche des öffentlichen Dienstes samt der zugehörigen Beschäftigten auszugliedern. Im Englischen spricht man dann von einer „PPP Strategic Partnership“. Die britische Forschungseinrichtung ESSU hat nun einen neuen Bericht zu dieser Privatisierungsform vorgestellt: “ PPP Strategic Partnerships Database 2012-2013″, verfasst von Dexter Whitfield, (http://www.european-services-strategy.org.uk/ppp-database/ppp-partnership-database/).
Seit 2007 wurden allein in Großbritannien mithilfe solcher „Partnerschaften“ öffentliche Dienstleistungen im Volumen von 50 Milliarden britischer Pfund (über 60 Milliarden Euro) privatisiert, zehntausende vormals öffentliche Beschäftigte mussten in den Privatsektor wechseln. Finanziert werden die weiterhin öffentlichen Aufgaben nun durch monatliche Zahlungen der Kommunen an private Investoren, die wiederum im Wesentlichen von drei marktbeherrschenden Finanzgruppen dominiert werden.
Die durchschnittliche Laufzeit der Verträge liegt bei etwa 15 Jahren, doch gemäß ESSU sind bereits sieben Jahre nach dem Start der „Strategic partnerships“ in Großbritannien 22% der Projekte gescheitert. Sie wurden entweder abgebrochen, mussten massive Kostensteigerungen realisieren oder befinden sich in Abwicklung. Bleibt diese Entwicklung konstant, so wird jeder zweite „Strategic partnerships“-Vertrag vor Ende seiner Laufzeit scheitern.
Wir dokumentieren nachfolgend Auszüge aus dem Bericht (derzeit nur in Englisch verfügbar):
UK outsourcing expands despite high failure rates
PPP Database, Strategic Partnerships 2012-2013
by Dexter Whitfield
January 2014, based on 2012 and 2013 data.
- The number of PPP strategic partnerships has increased 35% in just two years with 18 additional contracts valued at £8bn.
- 65 strategic partnership contracts have been awarded since 1998 worth £14.2bn and employed over 28,600 staff when the projects commenced.
- Strategic partnerships originated in ICT and corporate services, but have extended into planning, education, police, fire and rescue and property services.
- The new Strategic Partnership Performance Ratio is 22.0% (combining contract terminations, major reductions in the scope of contracts, and significant problems in contracts).
- Three companies – Capita, BT and Mouchel have a 58.9% market share of operational contracts by contract value and 63.2% share of staff employed.
- Four ‘whole service’ twenty-five year highway services contracts are operational worth £6.1bn and employ 1,015 staff.
- 45 waste management contracts are in operation, virtually all PFI projects valued at £29.8bn, of which nine include household waste collection and other local environmental services.
Strategic partnerships defined
A strategic partnership is a long-term, multi-service, multi-million pound Public Private Partnership (PPP) between a local authority or public body and a private contractor. Between 50 – 1,000 staff are transferred to a private contractor or seconded or transferred to a Joint Venture Company (JVC). Contracts are usually ten years with an option for a further five years. Highway and waste services are PFI contracts, usually for 25 – 30 years.
ICT and related services strategic partnerships usually cover revenues and benefits, financial and legal services, customer contact centres, human resources, payroll and often include property management.
Strategic partnerships are service contracts with relatively small capital expenditure for equipment and buildings, except in the case of waste management contracts. They are funded through local authority revenue budgets via monthly payments to a private contractor who may frontload some investment and recoup the costs in the latter stages of the contract. Strategic partnership objectives usually include the transformation of public services and delivering budget savings. They also usually have new job creation and social and economic aims, although the track record in achieving these objectives is very poor. Projects are management-led, supported by management consultants and lawyers, with only a handful of elected members having a basic understanding of key issues.
Savings are usually cumulated over the contract period to produce a large figure, on the assumption that savings made in year one continue every year. The claimed savings are rarely achieved in full. Sometimes savings are ‘guaranteed’ by private contractors, but in practice this is only viable to the extent that they do materialise, otherwise contractors are likely to resort to legal action to find ways of avoiding making ‘compensation’ payments. Some contracts are extended to include additional services, making it even more difficult to verify actual savings.
‘Growing the business’
The early strategic partnerships promised new regional business centres, but when these failed to materialise, contractors then made unsubstantiated forecasts about winning contracts from other local authorities and public bodies. Some won small amounts of additional work and contractors with several strategic partnership contracts were able to transfer work between contracts, which gave the appearance of ‘additional’ work. Joint venture contracts equally failed to win significant additional work despite ambitious claims made during the procurement process.
The promise of ‘new’ jobs was contingent on winning additional work, and since this was not successful, contractors failed miserably to meet the new job targets. In most cases the ‘new jobs’ did not even replace the jobs lost within the contract due to the ‘transformation’ of services and private sector employment practices.
Social investment and economic development
Some contracts made claims about how the local economy will benefit from the strategic partnership. For example, IBM promised the Social Transformation of Taunton, Somerset and the Southwest by “…transforming the way the Councils do business across the enterprise” and “…driving social and economic development” – the latter would include a the potential to create a virtual university to attract/retain best talent, an Inward Investment Agency for Somerset and an iconic Business Centre in Taunton (IBM, 2007). None currently exist six years into the contract.
‘World class services’
Contractors claim the ability to provide levels of ‘innovation’ and ‘transformation’ that will provide the local authority with ‘world class services’. Firstly, local authorities have a wide range of needs, statutory duties and responsibilities with limited resources and conflicting corporate priorities, with the objective of high quality, not world class, services. Secondly, the ‘world class’ hype often conceals contractor’s limitations to innovate and reconfigure public services. None of the sixty plus local authorities and public bodies with strategic partnerships have yet to claim ‘world class’ status. Choosing ‘best in class’ suppliers to support in-house service improvement is usually more effective than being tied into a long-term contract with one company.
The ideology of ‘partnership’ has misled many in the public sector. The reality is that strategic partnerships are primarily a client/contractor relationship set out in a detailed contract, which ultimately determines the scope, quality and cost of ‘transformation’. The partnership ideology has led most public bodies to adopt the ‘thin client’ model of minimal contract monitoring, extensive use of key performance indicators and over-dependence on self-monitoring by contractors. This does not make for an ‘intelligent’ client. Limited democratic governance arrangements, commercial confidentiality and a lack of transparency of complex contracts restricts meaningful scrutiny.
The cause of poor performance of some PPP strategic partnerships has been identified as ‘cultural misalignment’ between the ‘partners’. This is simplistic and conceals fundamental differences between public and private sectors that are more evident in multi-service strategic partnership contracts than single service contracts. The public sector has to operate to public service principles, objectives and priorities in meeting local needs; democratic accountability and transparency includes fulfilling statutory obligations and central government controls; financial constraints and economies of scale are other factors that do not affect large private sector companies.
Terminated and reduced strategic partnership contracts
Of the 65 ICT and corporate services, planning, educational, police, fire and recue and property services contracts in the Database, six have been terminated, four have been significantly reduced in scope and three have incurred significant problems – see Table 15. One contract has been concluded and two more are planned to conclude in 2014.
Table 15: Terminated and reduced strategic partnership contracts
|Reasons for termination/reduction
|Bedfordshire County Council
|HBS Business Services
|Terminated contract: In 2005 four years into a 12-year contract after failure to achieve key deliverables and poor performance. Services and over 500 staff returned to in-house provision. (see Strategic Partnership in Crisis and details of termination at http://www.european-services- strategy.org.uk/outsourcing-ppp-library/strategic- partnerships/strategic-partnership-in-crisis-bedfordshire/
|Essex County Council
|Terminated contract: The 10-year contract commenced 2002 but in January 2009 the Council served BT with a notice of material breach of contract. A spokeswoman for the council said: “We decided it wasn’t value for money and we weren’t getting the level of service we required, so we decided to terminate the contract.” (Financial Times)
|Milton Keynes Council
|Terminated contract: Radical restructure announced in 2012, eight years into 12-year contract. All services to be transferred back to Council. Mouchel will provide some services under framework agreement. “We believe in bringing this [work] back in-house …is the best value for the taxpayers” said Council Leader (BBC News, 2012). Mouchel heavily criticized for failing to adequately inspect and maintain 1,200 bridges.
|Redcar & Cleveland Council
|Following a ‘strategic review of services’ HR and Payroll, Finance and Accounting, ICT, Public Access and Business support brought back in-house in September 2006 after only 3 years of the 10-year Liberata contract.
|Property and highways services returned to in-house provision in early 2012 following review of contract in 2011 and termination of contract. Agilisys element continuing but under review.
|Terminated contract: Termination notice issued in July 2013 with the £300m 15 year contract due to transfer back in-house in March 2014 after less than half the contract term. Council issued change control notice in June 2012 asking BT to recalculate annual charge as service levels reduced due to decline in workforce from 7,400 in 2007 to 4,688 in mid 2012.
|Terminated contract: Failure to achieve planned savings in £70m contract for architectural, engineering, property and highway services, which commenced October 2008. Council agreed to terminate contract in September 2013 (Cabinet Meeting, 17 November, 2011).
|Somerset CC (Southwest One contract)
|The Strategic element of the Procurement Service, Property and FM services (except for hard FM), Estate management, the Strategic ICT function, (including web management), plus some business support posts for the above functions and just over 100 staff transferred back to the County Council in March 2013 (Somerset CC, March 2013).
|Taunton Deane BC (Southwest One contract)
|39 revenue and benefit staff returned in-house to Taunton and Deane Council in April 2013. A further six services were transferred in-house from 1 February 2014 – Property, HR Advisory (including Learning and Development), Finance Advisory, Facilities Management, Design & Print and Corporate Administration (Taunton Deane BC, 2013a and 2013b). Revenues and Benefits, Property, HR Advisory (including Learning and Development), Finance Advisory, Facilities Management, Design & Print and Corporate Administration with 89 staff returned in-house in 2013/2014. Delayed procurement savings led to additional £122,000-£152,500 interest charges on repayment of capital borrowing.
|ansea City Council
|£83m ICT contract with Capgemini. Phase 1 savings reduced from £26m to £6m and Phase 2 abandoned.
|West Berkshire Council
|Terminated contract: The 10-year contract with Amey Group in 2005 after three years because of poor performance.
Source: European Services Strategy Unit, PPP Database, 2014.
Three strategic partnerships have or are in the process of concluding with local authorities adopting different post-tender strategies. They have a common feature, namely they have not involved the strategic partnership contractor – see Table 16.
Table 16: PPP strategic partnership contracts concluded but not renewed
|Post strategic partnership approach
|Mixture of in-house provision, shared services and joint provision with other authorities after contract finished in January 2011.
|Tender for finance, ICT and HR with Agilisys and Serco shortlisted when contract finishes in 2015.
|Finance and HR to return in-house, internal trading organization to provide services to schools when contract ends in May 2014. “…savings over the period 2014-2018 would be maximised by bringing the services back into the control of SCC and implementing a transformation programme focused on reducing costs” (Suffolk County Council, 2013).BT offered a 5-year fixed price extension but this was rejectedbecause of high risk that contract price would increase. Babergh and Mid Suffolk District Councils discussing purchasing ICT services and four other Councils discussing access to financial, HR and ICT services from Suffolk County Council (ibid).
Source: European Services Strategy Unit, PPP Database, 2014.