Significant Step Forward For Global Transparency
The creation of the first-ever “Open Contracting Data Standard” has been announced today. The development of a common standard for the disclosure of contracting data is a key pillar of the work of the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP)to promote disclosure and participation in public contracting – empowering citizens around the world to hold their governments to account for the estimated US $9.5 trillion they spend each year through contracts.
The development of the Open Contracting Data Standard will come as a result of the collaboration of the Open Contracting Partnership and the World Wide Web Foundation (Web Foundation), supported by a grant from Omidyar Network. The Web Foundation will spearhead the technical work and will deliver the Open Contracting Data Standard v1.0 by the end of 2014. The Open Contracting Data Standard will be essential to advancing the OCP’s objective of achieving a new norm in which all public contracting is open.
This standard will be developed via an extensive process of research, consultation, development, testing, feedback and refinement – including with non-government actors and across multiple sectors and countries. The project will build upon work already undertaken by the OCP and others in this area, and will focus on both the supply of, and demand for, open contracting data. Clear use cases will be included, and – recognising diversity across sectors – adaptations of the master standard tailored to sector-specific needs will also be delivered.
The collaborative development and roll-out of an Open Contracting Data Standard that cuts across silos and allows for comparisons and analysis across countries, industry sectors and regions is essential. Contracting is at the core of how governments generate revenues and spend public resources, yet contracting information is often unavailable for public scrutiny, and is rarely in an ‘Open Data’ format. Ultimately, the development of this standard will help to ensure that investment deals are aligned with the public interest, that public resources are managed effectively and that citizens receive the services and goods they deserve, so that development benefits all.
Anne Jellema, Chief Executive Officer of the World Wide Web Foundation, said: “Open Contracting has the potential to enhance transparency and improve the lives of billions around the world. Yet, in order to realise its benefits, we must have a common standard to plan, manage and measure initiatives. We’re delighted to be working alongside the Open Contracting Partnership on this important initiative and grateful to Omidyar Network for their support.”
Robert Hunja, manager of the World Bank Institute’s Open Government Practice, speaking on behalf of the Open Contracting Partnership, added: “The Open Contracting Data Standard is a crucial step to ensuring that public contracting is truly public and that citizens can be active participants in the contracting processes that impact their lives and the lives of those in their communities. The Open Contracting Partnership is delighted to continue its history of collaboration, by working with the Web Foundation and Omidyar Network to advance the efforts to establish a new norm in which all contracting is open.”
“The contribution of this effort to the Open Government movement will be significant,” said Omidyar Network Policy Director Martin Tisné. “Omidyar Network is proud to support the Open Contracting Partnership and its role in enhancing transparency and accountability around the globe.”
Felipe Estefan, Open Contracting Partnership – firstname.lastname@example.org
Gabe Trodd/Dillon Mann, World Wide Web Foundation – email@example.com
Greg Pershall, Omidyar Network – firstname.lastname@example.org
1) Established by Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the World Wide Web Foundation (webfoundation.org) seeks to establish the open Web as a global public good and a basic right, creating a world where everyone, everywhere can use the Web to communicate, collaborate and innovate freely. This is the latest in a series of initiatives in the Open Data arena for the World Wide Web Foundation. In October, at the Open Government Partnership, the World Wide Web Foundation launched the Open Data Barometer alongside the Open Data Institute. This 77-country study considers the interlinked areas of Open Data policy, implementation and impact to produce a country ranking. The World Wide Web Foundation is also currently conducting the world’s first large-scale study into Open Data in Developing Countries. The Web Foundation has undertaken country readiness studies in Chile, Ghana and Indonesia, and is currently conducting a feasibility study into the establishment of an Open Data Lab in Indonesia.
2) This project is being supported by a grant from Omidyar Network (http://www.omidyar.com). Omidyar Network is a philanthropic investment firm dedicated to harnessing the power of markets to create opportunity for people to improve their lives. Established in 2004 by eBay founder Pierre Omidyar and his wife Pam, the organization invests in and helps scale innovative organizations to catalyze economic and social change. Omidyar Network has committed more than $669 million to for-profit companies and non-profit organizations that foster economic advancement and encourage individual participation across multiple initiatives, including entrepreneurship, financial inclusion, property rights, government transparency, consumer Internet and mobile.
3) The Open Contracting Partnership (https://www.open-contracting.org), founded in 2012, is a global collaborative effort seeking to enhance and promote disclosure and participation in public contracting. The Open Contracting Partnership seeks to convene leaders and innovators to collaborate around the realization of its vision of making openness in contract processes the new norm. The steering group currently leading the Open Contracting Partnership is composed of the Construction Sector Transparency Initiative (CoST), Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), Integrity Action, the government of Colombia, the Philippines Government Procurement Policy Board – Technical Support Office (GPPB-TSO), Oxfam America, Transparency International and the World Bank Institute, where the Partnership’s secretariat is currently hosted.