Written By Michael Roberts, 27 Jun 2014

The Open Contracting Partnership is pleased to announce the first release of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), which aims to enhance and promote disclosure and participation in public contracting, for broad consultation.

The Open Contracting Data Standard is a core product of the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP). Version 1.0 of the standard is being developed for the OCP by the World Wide Web Foundation, through a project supported by The Omidyar Network and the World Bank.

In this release, we present our draft Data Model for Public Procurement, which presents a high-level overview of the structure of the Data Standard that will be used to describe the various stages of the contracting process in a structured (machine-readable) format. We have designed this version for use in public procurement contracts, and hope in the coming months to adopt this model for public contracting in the land and extractive industries.

Why Do We Need an Open Contracting Data Standard?

In most countries, public contracting information is scattered across multiple systems and websites, and is organised according to a diverse range of defining characteristics. The resulting siloed nature of the contracting data prevents data from being easily compared, and clouds the contracting process, enabling any corruption apparent in the process to continue. Designing a simple standard to be used across the contracting process would allow the released data to be more easily linked and would enhance its utility. Therefore, we have proposed a data model that will allow contracting data to be released as it becomes available, but will facilitate the aggregation of this data into a single record.

By creating a uniform format, the OCDS aims to enable the widest possible range of stakeholders to use contracting data and documents effectively. Among other positive effects, the use of the OCDS will enable governments to achieve value for money in their contracts, develop a competitive playing field for the private sector, and ensure the production of high quality goods, works and services for citizens.

Consultation Process

As part of the release, we are encouraging feedback from the Open Contracting community on this draft Data Model before creating specific field names, reference lists, and file formats.

There are three main discussion areas on which we hope to stimulate feedback and debate with this initial release:

  • What are the core components of a procurement standard?

  • Can the needs of data producers and consumers be met with a system of various releases being compiled into a contracting record?

  • The need for and feasibility of a unique contracting identifier.

Throughout this release, we have included specific questions for consultation. You can share your comments in two ways:

  • Add inline comments to the document; and/or

  • If you have more general comments that don’t fit well as inline comments, please do join the OCDS mailing list and start a discussion to share your thoughts.

Comments to the document are welcome through July 15, 2014. The document will be continually updated throughout this consultation process.

To learn more about the OCDS process and to add your comments, please see the first release of the OCDS.

To learn more about the work the open contracting work the Web Foundation is doing, please see the Open Contracting Partnership Data Standard website.