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On the second day of the Social Outcomes Conference 2022, we held a session that explored some of the ways in which outcomes-based contracts can bring together parties from different backgrounds in a long-term partnership.

In the session we explored how close collaboration, and a 'formal relational' approach, may be the key to success. Nigel Ball and Michael Gibson shared the GO Lab’s brand new publication, Partnerships with principles: Putting relationships at the heart of public contracts for better social outcomes, which offers a practical guide to adopting a more intentionally relational approach in public contracting. 

Our speakers brought a wide range of perspectives to the issue: Carolyn Heinrich (Vanderbilt University) and Deanna Malatesta (Indiana University) offered the case study of a failed PPP which lacked in relational character. Felix-Anselm van Lier (GO Lab) considered how contractual terms might have evolved into relational practice in the Kirklees Better Outcomes Partnership. 

A number of speakers also highlighted the important role that relationships play in interacting with the formal contract, while Stéphane Saussier (Sorbonne) noted the challenge of pursuing relational contracting within procurement rules and while avoiding corruption.