Three main categories of strategies were identified: structural solutions (including workforce solutions, new informal processes, new rules and cultural learning), verbal statements (statements, apologies and expressions of frustration) and structured events (mediator/coaching sessions and team building days). An example of this is the following: the study found that introducing new informal processes in the wake of an alleged breach of trust can help restore trust. Such processes could include, for example, setting up a new procedure for handling new requests from the public partner (with an emphasis on prioritization and realistic timetables) or regular informal discussion of certain topics.
One thing that stood out in the researcher's conversations with PPP professionals is that most stakeholders are very receptive to efforts to rebuild partner trust. Second, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to restoring trust in PPPs – the solution must be tailored to the problem, specific stakeholder relationship and context.Thirdly, whatever is done to restore trust, if it promotes greater transparency between the partners, it is likely to be beneficial. Also, if both partners decide together what action to take (ie the solution is mutually worked out), the problem is more likely to be solved and trust between the partners is restored.
In general, those surveyed had many common experiences; they had similar frustrations, but also similar hopes for what their partnerships could achieve if these frustrations were acknowledged and overcome. This research highlighted that there is no easy way to restore trust in partnerships, but efforts to do so can have far-reaching consequences beyond resolving the initial breach of trust.