The effectiveness and responsiveness of public-private partnership in car park management in Lusaka city
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Public Service delivery has, over the years, transitioned from being influenced by the Old Public Management (OPA) paradigm which was concerned with structures and bureaucracy to the New Public Management (NPM) and the New Public Governance (NPG) models. The new models advocate for the involvement of the private sector in service delivery. The role of government has, hence, expanded from being a service provider to being a service assurer or guarantor. This means that government takes the responsibility of ensuring that the services are delivered without necessarily carrying out all services on its own. The Zambian government has been responsible for service provision through various ministries and local councils for several decades. However, service delivery by these units, particularly local councils, has been characterised by a lot of inefficiencies and ineffectiveness which result from capacity challenges. In trying to address these challenges, the Zambian government has adopted different forms of engaging the private sector in service delivery such as complete and partial privatisation, including Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), outsourcing and contracting out, among others. The general objective of this research is to evaluate the effectiveness of PPP in the management of car parks. Specifically, the research aims at examining the extent to which PPP in car park management helps to relieve local councils of their financial and human resource challenges and to assess the extent to which PPP ensures good quality car parking services. This was an evaluation research and was a one-time case study. It made use of questionnaires and semi-structured interviews to collect quantitative and qualitative data, which were analysed using Statistical Package for Social Sciences and content analysis, respectively. The sample size was 162 comprising 150 motorists, 10 wardens (car park attendants), one key informant from Lusaka City Council (LCC) and one key informant from Parkrite Zambia Limited. The two key informants were purposively selected while multistage sampling which combined simple random and convenient sampling was used to select wardens and motorists. The findings show that the current PPP between LCC and Parkrite has failed to relieve the local councils of their financial challenges. This is because there is less revenue realized by the local council from car parks compared to what was being realized before the partnership. In addition, the local council is still expected to maintain the roads which cover most of the on-street car parks. However, to a large extent, the PPP has helped to relieve the local authority of its human resource challenges. This is because Parkrite employs all the workers involved in car park management. This gives LCC a relief in handling human resource related functions in that sector. The findings also show that motorists are generally satisfied with the quality of car parking services. This means that the PPP model has the ability to ensure good quality car parking services. To ensure maximum benefits from the PPP, LCC should introduce some form of punishment, in addition to the current rewards, so that Parkrite’s actions are within the contractual terms. Furthermore, both parties should enhance communication, transparency, accountability and commitment to their roles so as to ensure mutual benefits. Keywords public-private partnership, effectiveness, responsiveness, car park management, financial challenge, human resource challenge, quality of service.
University of Zambia