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Authors: Françoise Barten1, Marco Akerman2, Daniel Becker3, Sharon Friel4, Trevor Hancock5, ... - page 19 / 47

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2). A study in Accra, Ghana of waste collection performance from 1985-2000 under two different institutional and/or organizational regimes, -from a situation of entire public sector dependence toward increased private sector involvement-, found that the public-private mix was more effective: for solid waste, collection rate and disposal improved from 51% in 1998 to 91% in the year 2000. However, in Accra the results could not be sustained in the long term, in this case beyond 10 years of public-private partnership (Fobil  et al, 2008:3).

The concept of “partnership” is frequently being used in the governance literature. This is not very surprising as “multisector partnerships” have become a prevalent mode of governance in many countries.  As already mentioned, the institutions of urban politics are context-specific, dynamic and different. Davies (2003) compared UK-style partnerships with urban forms of collaboration in the US and this study found partnerships in the UK are essentially different. The participation of the private sector and business activity so far has been limited in the UK in comparison to the US.  

Also, partnerships are not always so inclusive, democratic (legitimate) and effective as they promise to be (Sorensen & Torfing, 2005). Rationales differ and a normative framework, e.g. a rights-based perspective is critical (Marcuse, 2010; Parnell and Pieterse, 2010). Whitehead (2007:3), analysed the architecture of eight urban partnerships in the UK and questions the image of purported “democratic and administrative virtues typically associated with partnerships”: e.g. the capacity to ensure more inclusive policymaking and more effective delivery of public policy and services. This study found that  the role of politics which influence and shape the operation and effectiveness of partnerships has been routinely neglected; while attention has focused on the construction and outputs of partnerships (p. 4). Partnerships in the UK are often based upon hierarchical modes of organisation and represent conflicting values (Davies, 2004).  Also Cardini (2006) examined the mismatch between the political rhetoric and the empirical capacity of partnerships. The study concluded that although the notion of partnerships creates a vision of public policy in which everyone seems to benefit by emphasizing efficiency, devolution and participation, the reality is different: partnerships failed to be inclusive of representative interests, reinforced the influence of the central government and facilitated the participation of the private sector in the delivery of public services.

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