#4 Nantes

Public-private cooperation to serve cities

Six concrete cases, the United Kingdom model and an analysis of the French context by LATTS Institute inspired many comments on the notions of partnership, power and public service. The difficulties encountered with PPPs, inherent in risk sharing, have dampened interest in this type of arrangement, but other innovative forms of cooperation should be promoted.

Our discussions have shown that, even when views diverge on public-private partnerships, none of us want to be naively optimistic or ideological about them. They are but one possible tool among many others.

The economic crisis in Europe has called into question the scope of public services. How the private sector, including non-profits, contributes to building the common good is once again part of the debate. PPPs are currently under scrutiny in France, a country that nonetheless has a long tradition of public-private cooperation in a wide variety of forms: standard publicly-run companies, service procurement contracts, delegation of public service, now PPPs and tomorrow maybe the so-called “contract semi-public companies” specifically designed to that purpose. They may allow us to finally create a true mixed economy.

Without providing all the answers, this meeting allowed us to ask the right questions that, unfortunately, are rarely raised: What should the public service provide? What public service can we afford? What resources can we call upon? Who should pay: the user or the taxpayer?

All of this leads us to the issue of evaluating public policies, an area where France is lagging. Perhaps this could be the topic of a future BEST network meeting.

Thierry Boutoute
Deputy Chief Executive of Nantes Metropole


Comparison of different forms of public-private partnership in France and the United Kingdom

Presentation of research results

  • Differences and similarities between France and the United Kingdom in public policy.
  • Reforms in public service management.
  • How the PPP fits into the legal system in each country.
  • Comparative weight of PPPs.
  • Have PPPs achieved value for money?
  • Has public-private cooperation brought innovation and improvement of services?
  • Are PPPs a tool to boost the economy during a crisis or do they increase costs and risks for public finances?

> Elisabeth Campagnac, Director of Research at École Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (until 2013) and author of “Assessing PPP in Europe”
> Graham Winch, Professor of Construction Project Management at the University of Manchester Business School
> Géry Deffontaines, PhD student at LATTS Institute (the Technical, Territorial and Social Laboratory) at Paris-Est University, ENPC, CNRS

Presentation of public-private cooperation projects

Creating a public amenity as part of a planning operation
Integrating a gymnasium in an office building in the Euronantes Gare area.
> Thierry Boutoute, Deputy Chief Executive of Nantes Metropole and the City of Nantes.

Experiences and reforms underway in the United Kingdom
A testimonial from Local Partnerships, a consultancy for PFIs and PPPs.
> Neil Okninski, Project Director at Local Partnerships.

The Bordeaux Stadium
Negotiation of the contract between the three partners for the construction, maintenance and operation of the stadium. The main issue is risk management.
> Thierry Guichard, Director of the Bordeaux Stadium Project.

Energy retrofit in public buildings
A PPP between La Manche County Council and EDF Optimal Solutions for the energy retrofit of middle schools and museums and the head office of the County Council.
> Frédéric Chauvel, Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Regional Development and Planning at La Manche County Council.

From contractual PPPs to Institutional PPPs (IPPPs)
Illustration of this model through two examples.
> Bertrand Uguen, Chief Executive of Brest Métropole Océane
> Vincent Le Jeune, Chartered Engineer with Brest Métropole Océane

The keys to success for new forms of public-private cooperation benefitting the cities

Challenges and prospects
Legal changes to be considered. Upskilling of public agents. What the public sector expects from the private sector. New sharing of risks.
> Thierry Boutoute, Deputy Chief Executive in charge of Finance and Administration for the City of Nantes and Nantes Metropole

The right use of public-private partnerships as the public sector shifts into low gear
> Michel Vayssié, Chief Executive of the Bordeaux Urban Community.

The crucial factor for success in public/private sector relations: optimal sharing of risk between the parties
> Pierre-Aymeric Dewez, Senior Manager at Ernst & Young

In the end, is cost the only factor determining the local authority’s willingness to invest?
> Christian Fina, Chief Executive of Montpellier Agglomération

From useful skills to the right sharing of risk between the local authority and the future operator
> Pierre Tonneau, Chief Executive of Grenoble Alpes Metropole