PPP Development Stage – Identifying Partners
9.4 What are the key steps in identifying partners?
1. Performing stakeholder analysis
There are several steps to doing a stakeholder analysis:
- A. Draw up a "stakeholder table";
- B. Do an assessment of each stakeholder's
importance to the project success and
his/her/its relative power/influence; and
- C. Identify risks and assumptions which will
affect project design and success.
A. Drawing up a stakeholder
A stakeholder table could be built following fours steps:
- a) identify and list all potential stakeholders;
- b) identify their interests (overt and hidden) in relation
to the problems being addressed by the project and
its objectives (note: each stakeholder may have several
- c) briefly assess the likely impact of the project on each
of these stakeholder interests (positive, negative,
or unknown); and
- d) indicate the relative priority that the project
should give to each stakeholder in meeting his/her/its
a) Identifying the stakeholders and creating a list
Stakeholders can be divided into three categories: primary
stakeholders, secondary stakeholders and external stakeholders:
…are affected directly, either positively or negatively,
by the project. In most projects, primary stakeholders will be
categorised according to social analysis. Thus, primary stakeholders
should be divided by gender, social or income classes, and by occupational
or service user groups. In many projects, categories of primary
stakeholders may overlap (for example, women and low-income groups).
…play some intermediary role and may have an important
effect on the project outcome. They can be divided into funding,
implementing, monitoring and advocacy organisations, or simply
governmental, NGO and private sector organisations. In many projects,
it will also be necessary to consider key individuals as specific
stakeholders (for example, heads of departments or other agencies,
who have a personal interest at stake as well as formal institutional objectives).
Also note that there may be some informal groups of people who will act
as intermediaries in the project. For example, politicians, local leaders or
respected persons with social or religious influence.
…are not directly involved, but may nevertheless be affected
by a specific project.
In order to ensure the inclusiveness of all stakeholders, management
could answer the following questions:
- Have all primary and secondary stakeholders been listed?
- Have all potential supporters and opponents of the project been
- Have primary stakeholders been divided into user/occupational groups, or
- Have the interests of vulnerable groups (especially the poor)
- Are there any new primary or secondary stakeholders that are likely to
emerge as a result of the project?
b) Identifying interests
The interests of all types of stakeholders may be difficult to
define, especially if they are "hidden", or in contradiction with the openly stated
aims of the organisations or groups involved. A rule of thumb is to relate
each stakeholder either to the problems that the project is seeking to address
(if at an early enough stage of the project), or to the established objectives
of the project (if the project is already under way). Interests may be drawn
out by asking:
- What are that particular stakeholder's expectations of
- What benefits are there likely to be for the stakeholder?
- What resources will the stakeholder wish to commit (or avoid committing)
to the project?
- What other interests does the stakeholder have which may conflict
with the project?
- How does the stakeholder regard others in the list?
c) Assessing the likely impact…
…of the project is a qualitative analysis that will identify whether the
impact on the stakeholder’s interests is and could be positive, negative
d) Setting up priorities,…
…which the project should give to each stakeholder in meeting his/her/its
The results of these four steps should be presented in the form of a table
B. Assessing the likely impact
The impact of the project on the shareholders is a function of
influence and importance.
…is the power that stakeholders have over a project – to control
what decisions are made, facilitate their implementation or to exert influence
that affects the project negatively. Power may derive from the nature of
a stakeholder's organisation, or his/her/its position in relation to other stakeholders.
…of particular stakeholders to the project’s success can be identified
by answering the following questions:
- – The project seeks to address or alleviate which problems;
these problems affect which stakeholders?
- – For which stakeholders does the project place a priority on meeting their
needs, interests and expectations?
- – Which stakeholder interests converge most closely with policy and project
By combining influence and importance using a matrix diagram
[Tool 9-3], stakeholders can be classified into different
groups. This will help identify assumptions and the risks that
need to be managed through project design.
Summary of Actions
A. Hold stakeholder consultation and discussion forum
B. Set out a framework of objectives
C. Agree priorities
C. Identifying assumptions and risks
The success of a project depends partly on the validity of
the assumptions made about its various stakeholders, and
the risks facing the project. Some of these risks will derive
from conflicting interests.
Planners must identify (and assess the importance of) the
most plausible assumptions about each "key" stakeholder which are necessary
if the project is to be successful. By assessing the influence and
importance of key stakeholders, some risks emerge from the matrix diagram
In order to go systematically through the assumptions and risks which
need to be specified for each stakeholder, the following questions
should be answered:
- What is the role or response of the key stakeholder that
must be assumed if the project is to be successful?
- Are these roles plausible and realistic?
- Are there negative responses that can be expected, given
the interests of the stakeholder?
- If such responses occur, what impact would they have on the
- How probable are these negative responses, and are they major
- In summary, which plausible assumptions about stakeholders
support or threaten the project?
2. Identifying partners’ roles
Each partner can play different roles in a partnership. The
most common of these roles are:
setting the frameworks for service provision;
supplying the services;
paying fees to obtain the services; and
monitoring and ensuring service quality and price.
[Tool 9-4] presents a general overview of the roles that
different partners can play in infrastructure services
3. Define relationships and gaps
The stakeholder analysis will show the existing and potential
relationships between stakeholders and ultimately will help
define the challenge of involving a range of stakeholders in
the municipal service strategy. In turn, this will also point towards
critical “bridging” organisations
and leaders who can help build relationships across traditional
sectoral, political, social and economic divides.