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Service Delivery Partnerships

Service delivery is the core function and responsibility of County Governments and it is useful for counties to consider using effective partnerships to deliver some elements of their services. Two of these partnerships are explained below, click on the boxes for more information.


Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) Co-production and co-provision of services


Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs)

PPPs can be broadly defined as a contractual agreement between the County Government and a private firm which finances, designs, implements and operates infrastructure, facilities and services that would usually be provided by the county. In PPPs risks between the parties are shared — the project is put together in a way that the private sector gets a reasonable rate of return on its investment, while the service outcomes are also achieved. They offer financial and other gains to the public sector and can help address the limited funding resources for local infrastructure or development projects of the county allowing for the allocation of public funds for other local priorities.

PPPs are geared for both sectors to gain improved efficiency and project implementation processes in delivering services to the public. They emphasise ‘Value for Money’—focusing on reduced costs, better risk allocation, faster implementation, improved services and possible generation of additional revenue.


  • A contractual agreement between the public sector and the private sector.
  • Shared risks and resources.
  • Value for Money (VfM).
  • Outcome orientation.
  • Acceleration of the infrastructure and service provision and faster implementation.


Legal framework for PPPs in Kenya

Why use PPPs?

Considerations for County Governments when using PPPs

Some of the risks to using PPPs

An example of a PPP from Isiolo County Government


Municipal Public-Private Partnership Framework

Infrastructure Investment & Public-Private Partnerships Toolbox

Public-Private Partnerships in Sub-Saharan Africa

Sub-national and Municipal PPPs

Understanding PPP Concepts & Framework

Legal framework for PPPs in Kenya

Kenya has a legal and regulatory framework in place for Public-Private Partnerships, as well as some useful websites for more information, see below:

Useful links

The Public-Private Partnership Unit (PPPU): A Special Purpose Unit within the National Treasury of the Government of Kenya (GOK) established under the PPP Act. It serves as the secretariat and technical arm of the PPP Committee, which is mandated with assessing and approving PPP projects in the country.

The PPP Unit is the resource centre for best practice and oversees the integrity of the PPP process. It plays a major role in identifying problems, making recommendations to the PPP Committee regarding potential solutions, and ensuring that projects meet such quality criteria as affordability, value for money, and appropriate transfer of risk.

Why use PPPs?

  • Increased efficiency and effectiveness in project delivery and operation.
  • Reinforcing competition.
  • Reducing county government budgetary constraints by accessing private capital.
  • Access to private-sector financial resources, advanced technology, technical expertise and operating competence.
  • Mitigation of fiscal and resource limitations.
  • Prospective operational cost savings for county governments.
  • Reallocation of county resources for other priority needs.
  • Flexibility in the management of county assets.
  • Cost-based/market-based fares, fees and charges for greater service sustainability.
  • Professionalisation of personnel and organisational structures.
  • Profit motivation impetus to ensure efficiency and effectiveness in service delivery.
  • Protection of projects from possible adverse political interferences in service delivery.
  • Investment incentives.

Some considerations for County Governments when using PPPs

  • Ensure that the requisite technical capacity, competencies and skills set required to identify projects/programs, package, manage PPPs is available.
  • Consider and make adequate time and resource provisions to conduct preparatory activities such as feasibility studies and approvals, preparation of pre-qualification and bidding documents, contracting. These all take time and require budgetary resources.
  • PPP agreements and contract management - Important to establish and clearly set out governance arrangements, allocate risks, performance requirements i.e. define performance requirements that are out-put based and relatively easy to monitor, as well as incentives, penalties and conflict resolution mechanism.
  • While the risks are shared, the county government's responsibility for the quality of services continues and citizens will continue to hold government accountable. The county government should ensure they have sufficient expertise, to effectively manage the PPP arrangements and to fulfil its own obligations under the PPP agreement and to monitor performance of the private sector and enforce its obligation.
  • A clear legal and regulatory framework is required for the success of a PPP arrangement.

Examples of county government projects that maybe suitable for PPPs 

It is important to note that not all projects lend themselves well to PPP delivery. Please note these are examples only and by no means a complete list.


Possible PPP Projects

Agriculture, livestock and fisheries

Agricultural development facilities such as: agricultural produce storage and warehousing facilities; agricultural produce processing and post-harvest facilities; livestock facilities.

Fisheries and aquatic resources facilities such as: public fish ports; fish ponds; fisheries storage facilities; fisheries processing facilities.

Early childhood education

Education and education support facilities such as: school buildings; education related facilities such as dormitories, playgrounds and student centres.

Environment and solid waste management

Environment and solid waste management facilities such as: solid waste collection equipment; composting plans and facilities; sanitary landfills; tidal barriers.


Healthcare and health-related infrastructure such as: hospitals; health centres; clinics; pharmacies and drug stores; ante natal clinics.

Information and Communication Technology (ICT) systems and facilities

IT modernisation; geospatial resource mapping; cadastral survey for revenue collection, resource accounting and planning.

Roads and transport

Construction and maintenance of county roads and bridges; transport management system; transport terminals.


Local water supply systems, septic management or sewerage systems; drainage facilities.

Social services

Day care centres; emergency response units; social welfare distribution centers.


Risks to using PPPs

  • Corruption dampens transparency and accountability in the development and implementation of PPPs and especially for county governments.
  • While the risks are shared, the county government remains responsible for the quality of services delivered and therefore for effective management of the entire process. Sound risk management should be put in place. The following links provide some useful resources for managing the risks of PPP.


An example of a PPP from Isiolo County Government


What is co-production and co-provision of services?

Co-production and co-provision of services: who does the work?

Why do people co-produce?

What are the risks?


What is co-production and co-provision of services?

Citizen engagement in government is a very broad field and includes ways to involve citizens in policy-making, planning and service design to delivery and evaluation. It is also about who does the work, not just who decides whether or how it is to be done.

Co-production and co-provision is when the delivery of public services involves citizens in the creation of public policies and services. It is contrasted with a transaction-based method of service delivery in which citizens consume public services which are conceived of and provided by governments. Here citizens are not only consulted but involved and contribute towards the conception, design, management and delivery of services.

So, when a county government delivers a service, it seems obvious who is the producer and who the consumer. But a closer look reveals a more complex picture: often, some of the production is done by the consumer. Co-production of public services is a concept with many meanings and many faces, but it basically refers to citizens and clients assisting in the production of public services.

The ‘co-’ means that the activity is done jointly by two or more parties. This conjures up images of people working alongside each other—perhaps a local government getting together with citizens—as individuals or though CSOs and NGOs to design a program. Co-production is a two-way process: the county government and the citizen/group each give something, such as time, effort, or resources, to each other.However, it doesn’t have to be at the same time. An example is when citizens/taxpayers fill in their own online e-payments (Nairobi City Council does this), with software and other support systems provided by the county government.

Moving to the second part of the term, ‘production’ means that the activity involves some kind of transformation of tangible or intangible inputs into more valuable outputs or the "provision" of a service.

Co-provision is where the county government and citizens, CSOs or NGOs collaborate and contribute towards the provision of a particular public service. For example in partnership with the county government, a group of local people can work out how to support people living with HIV/AIDS in their homes with links back to the county department of health; a local CSO can develop IEC materials for these volunteers and a local NGO can provide transport to the volunteer and person living with AIDS to take them shopping.

Co-production and co-provision of services: who does the work?

Stage of the process

Done by

County Government alone

County Government in partnership with citizens, CSO or NGO


Citizens, CSO or NGO and/or private sector

Deliberation and decision making

County Government alone

Joint decision (co-production/co-provision)

Alone decision making - citizens, CSO or NGO and/or private sector


County Government alone

Joint planning and design (co-production/co-provision)

Alone planning and design - citizens, CSO or NGO or private sector

Provision (doing the work/service)

Respective County Government departments and staff alone

Joint service delivery (co-production/co-provision)

Alone doing the work, CSO or NGO and/or private sector

Why do people co-produce?

How do we decide whether to use co-production? Well, sometimes it’s unavoidable so the question is not ‘whether’, but ‘how’. For services where co-production is optional, the basic answer is that they should substitute co-production for some other tool if the benefits of doing so outweigh the costs.

Co-production might not always be the answer to the problem – for example it might be efficient to get parents to tutor their children at home, and help them with their homework. But depending on the parental education level of the area, many of the parents won’t have the expertise to do that, so putting in that kind of program across the board yields patchy results and desired public outcomes. Ensuring programs are tailored to local circumstances is essential to produce effective results; and for this case this might mean getting professional tutors.

On the other hand, the example of mothers giving breastfeeding support to other mothers has several advantages over professional service provision. The training is relatively simple and inexpensive to get these co-producers ready to help out, and there is the additional advantage that new mothers are more likely to bond with and confide in other mothers than health professionals.

These examples show that decisions about the use of co-production should not be based solely on reducing expenditure. When we talk about the costs outweighing the benefits, we also refer to the quality of the service. With co-production, county governments can tap into local knowledge or trust or special skills and innovation or locational advantage that they couldn’t get if they just paid an external provider to do the job.

What are the risks?

  • Co-production requires a change in mindset for counties as well as citizens and some people may be resistant to working this way.
  • County officials and MCAs may need different skills, including deliberation, facilitation and managing partnerships. They will also need to be prepared to manage competing community priorities and manage expectations.