Honesty – the answer to a good public-private partnership

14 Dec 2017

It was a fittingly lively debate to end the year on at our London breakfast this week, where the issue of public-private partnerships was debated, particularly looking at their role in solving London’s housing problem. 

The breakfast followed hot on the heels of our annual dinner, at which a room of around 500 people raised almost £18,000 for LandAid.

The breakfast on Thursday was kicked off in style by Steve Edge, who delivered a 20:20 presentation on branding, including a life lesson for everyone (as well as an explanation for his notorious sartorial style) – “Dress for a party every day and the party will come to you”. 

Lord Bob Kerslake then delivered a key note address on housing, the Mayors London Plan and measures set out in the Autumn Budget, before joining Pete Gladwell (head of public sector partnerships at Legal & General), Rob Perrins (The Berkeley Group chief executive) and Cllr Darren Rodwell (leader of the London Borough of Barking & Dagenham) in a panel discussion chaired by Winckworth Sherwood’s Karen Cooksley.

A few soundbites from the morning include:

Lord Kerslake on housing as a priority for all political parties: “If there is one issue breaking through the ‘smothering Brexit blanket’ in Westminster, it is housing.”

Lord Kerslake on the reviews and proposals for changes to planning and housing: “The question isn’t ‘what we need to do’, but if we actually have the tools to do it. The jury is still out on that.”

Cllr Darren Rodwell on what makes a successful public-private development partnership: “The barrier to a good partnership is a lack of straight forward honesty. Private partners need to buy in to what the borough wants. The vision comes from the community; the job of the council is to deliver that.”

Rob Perrin on the responsibility of developers to the community: “Development agreements between public and private partners need to be clear, but developers need to ask the community directly what it wants and deliver that first to get its support.”

Pete Gladwell on the role of institutional investors in major projects: “Funds do want to see money spent solely for the good of the community, but they also need to see a return for their own investor community. People shouldn’t overlook the importance of long-term money and commitment (on major regeneration projects) and institutions have the ability to make long-term investments (where housebuilders might not).”