Accountability and value for money: A theoretical framework for the relationship in public-private partnerships

Istemi Demirag, Iqbal Khadaroo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Citations (Scopus)


There is an implicit assumption in the UK Treasury's publications on public-private partnerships (PPP)-also more commonly known in the United Kingdom as private finance initiative (PFI)-that accountability and value for money (VFM) are related concepts. While recent academic studies on PPP/PFI (from now on as PFI) have focused on VFM, there is a notable absence of studies exploring the 'presumed' relationships between accountability and VFM. Drawing on Dubnick's (Dubnick and Romzek in American public administration, politics and the management of expectations. Macmillan, New York, 1991, Research in public administration. JAI, Greenwich, 1993; Dubnick in Public service ethics and the cultures of blame, 1996, Public sector ethics: finding and implementing values. Routledge, London, 1998, Int J Org Theory Behav 6(3):405-441, 2003, Public Perform Manage Rev 28(3):376-417, 2005; Dubnick and Justice in But can you trust them to be ethical, 2002) framework for accountability and PFI literature, we develop a research framework for exploring potential relationships between accountability and VFM in PFI projects by proposing alternative accountability cultures, processes and mechanisms for PFI. The PFI accountability model is then exposed to four criteria-warrantability, tractability, measurability and feasibility. Our preliminary interviews provide us guidance in identifying some of the cultures, processes and mechanisms indicated in our model which should enable future researchers to test not only the UK Government's claimed relationships between accountability and VFM using more specific PFI empirical data, but also a potential relationship between accountability and performance in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)271-296
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Management and Governance
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Accountability
  • New public management
  • Performance
  • Private finance initiative
  • Value for money

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management


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