Public-private partnerships: the ultimate guide to CP3P

Certified PPP Professional: The ultimate guide to CP3P

Certified Public-Private Partnership Professional: A certification with global credibility and opportunity

With our Certified PPP Professional (CP3P) course gaining popularity throughout the UK and globally, we wanted to explore the certification in detail. In the following guide we review public-private partnerships, the opportunities they present as well as the different type of courses we provide and why you should consider undertaking the course with our organisation.

For any questions on our CP3P course use the live chat function on the bottom right of your screen and a member of our local team will reply.


What is a public-private partnership?

What is the history of public-private partnerships?

What is the difference between a public-private partnership and privatisation?

What opportunities do public-private partnerships present?

What is the future of public-private partnerships?

What is the route to the CP3P certification?

Why is CP3P training important?

How can the CP3P certification support me as a project manager?

Why achieve your public-private partnership certification with Training ByteSize?

How long does it take to study for a CP3P certification?

What other certifications complement the public-private partnership framework?

What is a public-private partnership?

A public-private partnership, also known as a PPP, exists when a government collaborates with a company in the private sector to provide (fund, build, or manage) a service to the public, which they could not deliver without the support of the private company.

The partnership will deliver benefits for both parties:

  • In exchange for its contribution, the private company will cover the upfront costs of the project in the form of a loan to the government, and may receive a portion of the project’s profits or even tax breaks if the PPP is in the US.
  • In return, the government will see the successful delivery of the project which has a community benefit, such as infrastructure, public buildings, or housing, and they will repay the loan to the private company over an agreed period of time.

UNECE, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, describes public-private partnerships in the following way:

“PPP’s are a method by which the public sector can procure the design, construction, operation and maintenance of public capital assets from the private sector at a cost that represents value for money.

Rather than the public sector directly procuring a capital asset and providing a service using that asset, the private sector establishes and finances a business which designs and constructs the required asset and uses it to provide services to the public sector.

The public sector benefits from the private sector’s expertise in designing, building, financing and operating the asset and the transfer of risk to the private sector.”

What is the history of public-private partnerships?

During the 1980’s there was a significant shift from publicly owned and operated services becoming privatised. The following decade, the concept of public-private partnerships was pioneered and flourished under the UK’s Conservative government.

By the 2000’s PPP’s were developing all over the world as countries recognised the benefit these partnerships could bring to their communities. Yet some projects failed and so there was an acknowledgment that things needed to change. In 2011 after much consultation, a formal, innovative and globally recognised framework was launched.

“The APMG PPP Certification Program is an innovation of the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD), the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB), the World Bank Group (WBG) and part funded by the Public-Private Infrastructure Advisory Facility (PPIAF) with a shared vision of enhancing PPP performance globally.” – APMG

To support this programme and framework, and ensure there was a measurable standard of practice, a supporting certification was developed and launched in 2011 accredited by the APMG International.

APMG’s certification, known as the CP3P Certified PPP Professional, gives anyone working on a public-private partnership a shared knowledge and understanding of the whole process. This consistency standardises the process for the delivery of PPP projects globally, through enhancing knowledge and capability it ultimately ensures the longevity and success of projects.

“CP3P is the definitive credential to demonstrate to your peers that your abilities are aligned with international PPP good practice.” – APMG

“When governments choose to use public-private partnerships (PPP’s), the World Bank Group helps ensure they are designed well, benefit from a balanced regulatory environment and good governance, and are fiscally sustainable. We aim to foster better, more efficient public services and infrastructure.” – World Bank

Today, Australia and Canada are recognized as the leaders when it comes to delivering public-private partnerships; this is the experience that other countries want to follow. With COVID-19 and the pressures of resources, we are undoubtedly going to see a greater demand for partnership working and we can look to these countries for inspiration and best practice.

What is the difference between a public-private partnership and privatisation?

There are big differences between privatisation and public-private partnerships:

  • In privatisation, responsibility to provide the service in question often sits with the private company, and the public sector will typically get paid for selling its assets.
  • Whereas in a public-private partnership, the private sector will get paid for delivering the agreed project, such as an asset or facility.

Another difference between a public-private partnership and privatisation is how risk is allocated to both the government and private sector. In a public-private partnership, risks are assumed by the party that is best able to manage and assume the consequences of the risk involved. Whereas with privatisation, the private company owns all the risk.

What opportunities do public-private partnerships present?

When managed correctly, public-private partnerships can deliver excellent results for cash-strapped government agencies. For example, by 2050, 75% of the world’s population is projected to strain in existing cities and urban centers.

“In most cases, these projects could not get off the ground without private support, as tightening budgets make it difficult for governments to fund improvements to aging public assets or services. A Deloitte report found that only 16% of cities worldwide can self-fund the infrastructure projects their communities need.” – Deloitte

This gap in affordability presents a huge opportunity for the building and construction industry to support governments in addressing the prediction.

Did you know… Public-Private Partnerships are responsible for 15-20% of infrastructure investment in developing countries. Source: World Bank

There are also opportunities when it comes to unprecedented incidents. Catastrophic events, such as climate-change related disasters or the global pandemic of COVID-19 which we are currently living through, place unprecedented strain on governments. CBI have commissioned a report into this recently and noted:

“The (COVID-19) pandemic has highlighted the necessity of these partnerships, not only to help the country rapidly deliver solutions to some of the most pressing problems raised, but also to ensure the continuity of vital services despite the confusion of the pandemic.” – CBI

In times of crisis like this, it can be argued that the responsibility of rebuilding following a disaster could be shared with other stakeholders, including local government and the private sector. So this presents excellent opportunities for private companies to bid for tenders and submit partnership proposals when opportunities arise.

What is the future of public-private partnerships?

From our perspective as a CP3P accredited training organisation, we have seen a huge shift over the past three years in the types of businesses requesting public-private partnership training. Originally the demand came from the public sector, but we are increasingly working with large construction companies who want to speak the same language as the public sector and they are proud of the CP3P certifications their employees achieve.

We have also seen an increase in the number of individuals who are self-funding their training. These people want to work for large construction companies and see the value the CP3P certification will give them.

We are currently living in a world dominated by Coronavirus, so as with everything, there is nothing we can be certain of. However, the opportunities PPP’s present to communities puts them in a rather unique position. UNECE, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, have recently said:

“Partnerships with the private sector play a critical role in supporting governments’ efforts for prevention, preparedness and response to crises like the current pandemic – by harnessing companies’ skills, management capability and technology, such as in telecommunications, healthcare and innovation (vaccines and treatments), hygiene and water management.”

Additionally, David Dodd, CEO of the International Specialist Centre on PPPs in Sustainable Resilience, stressed that:

“Cooperation among countries is the best way to tackle the pandemic and to build back stronger. All the Centres in China, France, Japan, Lebanon, Portugal, Spain and the U.S., agreed to pool resources to help UN Member States, especially in the UNECE region, to get out of the pandemic and its social-economic impacts through supportive people-first PPP’s.”

This commitment to the future of public-private partnerships and the increasing demand for training demonstrates that they will be at the forefront of our post-COVID-19 world. Therefore, this is the perfect time to improve your knowledge of PPP’s to ensure you are best placed to respond to opportunities in the coming months. Additionally, as the risk of redundancy is ever-present through these uncertain times, a CP3P qualification will put you in a unique position when it comes to applying for jobs.

What is the route to the CP3P certification?

Public-private partnerships CP3P certification

The CP3P certification is a programme of training; there are three parts to the learning and three exams which must be passed consecutively in order to become a Certified PPP Professional.

However, achieving all three levels is not necessary; depending on your role you may find that you only need to undertake the Foundation and Execution courses. This flexible approach means that you have complete control of your CP3P learning and can tailor your journey.

CP3P Foundation, level 1

The Foundation level is aimed at those working at a basic level of PPP implementation, with little or no prior experience, as well as those with an interest in PPP’s. It aims to standardise their knowledge of the PPP process and terminology, as described in chapter 1 of the Guide.

The 40-minute multiple choice exam will test whether you have sufficient knowledge and understanding of the PPP Guide, to act as an informed team member of a PPP finance project. This will enable you to participate in a team environment and move on to implementing the process.

The Foundation certification is a pre-requisite for the next two certifications, whether you choose to take just one or both levels.

Preparation, level 2

The Preparation course is aimed at individuals involved in the development or implementation of PPP Frameworks or the initiation and preparation of PPP projects, mostly public sector officials, practitioners and their advisors or consultants. The course will cover chapters 2-5 of the Guide.

Private sector candidates will benefit from a greater understanding of the PPP concept as an asset or business opportunity. The exam will test whether you have achieved a sufficient understanding of how to apply and tailor PPP Frameworks and PPP Project Identification, Screening, Appraisal and Preparation Processes in a given governmental context.

Execution, level 3

The Execution course focused in the final stages of a contract and covers chapters 5-8 of the Guide. It is aimed at those involved in the structuring and tendering of PPP projects and the delivery and management of PPP contracts, mostly public sector officials, practitioners and their advisors or consultants.

The exam tests whether you have achieved a sufficient understanding of how to apply the structuring and drafting process of PPP tender documents and the PPP contracts, as well as the management of PPP contracts during the Construction and Operations Phases.

Achieving all three levels

If you sit all three exams and complete them successfully, you will be awarded the prestigious, globally recognised CP3P certification from APMG known as the Certified PPP Professional.

Why is CP3P training important?

Achieving the APMG CP3P certification gives you the knowledge and skills to speak the common international language used to deliver PPP’s, plus as a formal certification it will bring international credibility to your career.

Training is key when it comes to successfully achieving a PPP certification. While the PPP Guide is free to download on APMG’s dedicated CP3P website, there are 168 pages of complex reading in the Foundation alone. Plus, with three exams to pass before you can be credited as a Certified CP3P Professional, there is a lot of personal investment and self-drive needed should you wish to follow this self-study route.

Attending a CP3P training course with Training ByteSize is the easiest route to success. Our lead trainer is a PPP expert and has a 100% pass rate in all three PPP certifications. He speaks in plain English and keeps the class engaged through his lively and passionate learning style.

When embarking on a public-private partnership, it is essential to ensure the team has the correct expertise, and the only way to achieve this is through expert training.

How can the CP3P certification support me as a project manager?

If you are a project manager or project director working in the either the public or private sector, CP3P training will benefit you by giving you an understanding of the motivations, objectives, and concerns of governments. You will also understand the roles, processes and sequence in which tasks need to be completed in a public-private partnership.

While there are exams to pass to achieve the certifications, it’s not just about getting the grade to pass. The knowledge you will gain on the courses will be invaluable when it comes to understanding how public-private partnerships work in different countries.

As we navigate through the current Coronavirus pandemic, companies everywhere will see changes to projects and budgets. Plus, we envisage there will be a growth in the number of public-private partnerships following the strain that the crisis has put on government budgets.

When it comes to remaining competitive in the workplace and job market, you can put yourself in an excellent position with a CP3P certification to demonstrate the breadth of your skills and give you the edge over other candidates. Taking the qualification ensures you remain current and relevant, and are a credible member of a bidding team. You will have the skills and knowledge to move from one country to another, understanding the needs and working ways of the public sector.

Why achieve your public-private partnership certification with Training ByteSize?

There is huge demand for best practice when it comes to public-private partnerships, so we are very proud to train delegates all over the world in APMG’s CP3P certification.

At Training Bytesize, we have put more people through the Certified PPP Professional exams than any other training provider, and we were the first accredited training organisation to run the CP3P Preparation course in the UK, so you can be assured of the best learning experience with us. People pass their exams with Training ByteSize due to the quality of our trainers, and we travel all over the world to deliver outstanding training.

Our lead trainer is a public-private partnership and CP3P expert. He has worked on PPP’s and its UK variant, PFI or Private Finance Initiative, since its inception in the 1990’s. He has over 25 years PPP experience and was on the PWC Board that worked with the UK Government to develop and launch best practice.

Today our lead CP3P trainer is a fellow of the Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy, reviews existing PPP contracts and feasibility studies on behalf of government clients in the UK and Middle East, and is an exceptional CP3P trainer for Training ByteSize.

“I definitely recommend Training ByteSize to anyone thinking of taking a course for the CP3P exam. I honestly think they are one of the best organisations offering this training. Their virtual training is very professional and convenient. The trainer was knowledgeable and did everything he could to ensure that everyone understands the topics covered and felt prepared for the exam. Special thanks to Maurice, James, and Ian for the help during the course.” – Ahmad

We offer all three levels of accreditation, ultimately leading to the Certified PPP Professional (CP3P) certification. The level 1 Foundation course will give you an introduction to public-private partnerships and explain the core terminology, processes and systems you’ll need to know.

The Preparation course, also known as level 2, is provided at an intermediate level. It is for those who have a basic understanding of public-private partnerships but want to expand on their practical knowledge and application of skills. The course will enable you to demonstrate an understanding of how to apply and tailor the established procedures, roles and institutional responsibilities that determine how the government selects, implements and manages PPP projects, as outlined in the PPP Guide.

Finally, the Certified PPP Professional (CP3P) Level 3 Execution course is aimed at individuals involved in the structuring and tendering of PPP projects and the management of PPP contracts, mostly public sector officials, practitioners and their advisors or consultants.

We are very proud of our 98% pass rate when it comes to CP3P exams; this exceptional standard reflects the quality of our training and trainers.

Upcoming CP3P training courses

Certified PPP Professional (CP3P) Level 1 Foundation, virtual classroom course, 22/02/2021, 3 days, £599+VAT

Certified PPP Professional (CP3P) Level 2 Preparation, virtual classroom course, 22/03/2021, 4 days, £999+VAT

Certified PPP Professional (CP3P) Level 3 Execution, virtual classroom course, 19/04/2021, 4 days, £999+VAT

How long does it take to study for a CP3P certification?

Level Course length Ways to study Training and exam cost Exam format
Foundation, level 1 3 days Public course, bespoke onsite course, or virtual classroom £599+VAT
  • 40 minutes
  • 50 multiple choice questions
  • 50% pass mark
Preparation, level 2 4 days Public course, bespoke onsite course, or virtual classroom £999+VAT
  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Multiple choice
  • 50% pass mark
Execution, level 3 4 days Public course, bespoke onsite course, or virtual classroom £999+VAT
  • 2 hours 30 minutes
  • Multiple choice
  • 50% pass mark

What other certifications complement the public-private partnership framework?

Every single PPP begins with a business case, so the Better Business Cases certification from APMG will give you the skills to write detailed and complex business cases in a standardised format.

A business case is the gateway to any public-private partnership. Therefore, it is imperative to capture relevant information, display it in a logical way and maintain the right tone to increase the chance of success. The Five Case Model is a widely used, structured and standardised method of creating better business cases. Download our free Five Case Model reference tool here

It can be very useful to have a standardised approach to your business case format. This is particularly important when working on public-private partnerships because your business cases will be reviewed by senior leaders, board members and eventually external government bodies.

Many business cases are designed to present a rationale for securing funding to undertake a project. So, the power of a standardised, well presented overview of the potential value a project could deliver cannot be underestimated.

A Better Business Cases certification is the best way to standardise and strengthen your approach to creating robust business cases and will complement your CP3P certification perfectly.

We’re here to help

Here at Training ByteSize we tailor your CP3P journey to your needs; so whatever level you would like to complete, we would be delighted to create a bespoke learning package for you.

If you are looking to train a team of people, you will find that our onsite training is a viable and cost-effective option for you. We will ensure that from the initial consultation of your requirements to the end result of the training and exam, you and your learners will have had the best possible learning experience and we strive for the highest pass rates for your team.

We also offer group online training, so with the challenges of Coronavirus and social distancing, or perhaps concerns about staff being away from the office for periods of time, we can help. We offer great prices for multiple learners, so please take the opportunity to talk to us. You can use the chat function in the bottom right of your screen, email us at [email protected], or call us on +44 (0)1270 626330.

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