Communication for Public and Private Partnerships

Public and private partnerships represent “creative alliances” formed between a government entity and private developers who seek to achieve a common purpose. Other organizations to join in such partnerships could also include, non-governmental institutions, such as health care providers and educational institutions; nonprofit associations, community-based organizations; and intermediary groups, such as business improvement districts. Oftentimes, citizens and neighborhood groups also have a stake in the process. When these projects arise, all partners can communicate more effectively by building personal relationships with each other. Formal and informal forms of communication between entities and with the public create opportunities to build a more open and trusting relationship.

- Mary Beth Corrigan et al., Ten Principles for Successful Public/Private Partnerships (Washington, DC: ULI, 2005)

As implied from the Ten Principles for Successful Public/Private Partnerships, relationship building and shared understanding with a governmental entity, as well as engagement of the public, represents key components to keeping projects on track.

These building blocks to success, however, do not often happen organically and can prove so fragile that projects crumble from any number of unintended or unanticipated events. Intentional thoughtful engagement, coupled by education of and relationship building with the decision-making body and staff of the public entity, helps ensure success.

Our conflict management team is intentional about understanding and designing a process to help our clients build relationships with decision-makers, staff, as well as various community and public stakeholders. The Private Partners in public-private partnership projects see value, as well as decreased costs and stress, by using our conflict management services in the early stages of development or public improvement projects. This enables them to better shape a shared vision, educate stakeholders and interested parties, and dispel myths, and present facts supporting the proposed project. This proactive work ultimately leaves all involved feeling heard and accepting of the project.

Questions About This Topic?

If you have any questions about the content of this article or want to learn more about Conflict Management Solutions, please contact attorney and qualified neutral Pam Whitmore at 651-439-2878, or by email at

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