When it comes to infrastructure projects, “unsolicited proposals” (USPs) represent an alternative to the traditional project initiation method. In USPs the private sector rather than the public sector takes the lead role in identifying and developing a project. In practice, many public authorities around the world resort to USPs motivated by the perspective of solving the challenges brought by their lack of capacity to identify and develop projects. However, experience shows that many projects that originate as USPs experience challenges, including diverting public resources away from strategic plans of the government, providing poor value for money, and leading to patronage and lack of transparency, particularly in developing countries.
To ensure that governments can mobilize the strengths of the private sector while protecting the public interest, USPs, when accepted, should be managed and used with caution, as an exception to the public procurement method. To help with this, the World Bank has carried out a comprehensive review of the various method for managing and responding to USPs and put together a consolidated set of literature on this topic. This course provides an overview of this work. It is built on three documents which include: i) Main Findings and Recommendations that is considered as a summary; ii) Policy Guidelines for Managing Unsolicited Proposals in Infrastructure Projects, which provides key policy decisions and considerations for the USP Policy; and Review of Experiences with USPs, an in depth review of global best practices with USP policies and projects, the findings of which informed the development and considerations of the Guidelines.