The Issue of Trust and Information Sharing and the Question of Public Private Partnerships

The Issue of Trust and Information Sharing and the Question of Public Private Partnerships

David Sutton
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2964-6.ch013
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Whatever their focus, Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) require that a fundamental level of trust be established between the partners in order to have any chance of success. In parallel with trust, there is also a need to share information between partners, which must be carried out in a controlled and secure manner. This chapter examines the need for and the effectiveness of PPPs, the likely participants in them, and how incentives might be used to encourage their participation. The chapter also discusses the nature both of trust and information sharing, and how they are can be an enabler in both setting up and running PPPs.
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Fundamental to the formation of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) in which sensitive information may be shared is the issue of trust. If trust cannot be established or if it breaks down for any reason, the extent to which information may be shared and the resulting effectiveness of a PPP will be significantly reduced.

Public-Private Partnerships exist in a number of European Member States in three basic forms:

  • Those PPPs that focus on preparation and planning (also known as prevention-focused PPPs).

  • Those PPPs that focus on response and recovery (also known as response-focused PPPs).

  • Those PPPs that cover both areas (also known as umbrella PPPs).

This chapter will focus on the need for building trust as a prerequisite to forming a PPP, how trusted information sharing may be carried out, and will describe the three forms of PPP.



Whilst many parts of Critical National Infrastructures (CNI) began as public sector services, with recent changes in legislation, many are now totally in private hands. This is probably most true in the area of the Critical Information Infrastructure (CII), in which the underlying networks – both voice and data – are owned and operated by private multinational organisations.

However, when a crisis occurs, it is generally the public sector that must act as first responder, and it is in these situations that the need for reliable communications is paramount. For this reason, the planning for and implementation of crisis management must necessarily include both public and private sectors, who must work together to ensure that crises can be dealt with efficiently and effectively.

For this to be successful, a true partnership is required, with neither partner being seen as dominant, and the Public-Private Partnerships that have formed over time have mostly succeeded in achieving this.

As with any partnership, there are bound to be difficulties along the way. Ground rules must be set, which define the scope of the partnership; what it can (and cannot) seek to achieve; how it will be structured; its legal status; how it will report its progress, and to whom; and who will take part.

Also, in order for a partnership to be successful, there must be a high degree of trust between the participants, without which the partnership will undoubtedly fail. Interspersed with this is the need to share information, and as with the organisation of the partnership itself, there must be ground rules as to how this will operate.

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