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Inspiration for goal-driven contracting reformers: Tell us your best idea to deliver better public services & get help to make it happen

3 Jul 2019

Por Sophie Brown

What could you achieve if you reinvented public procurement? Our new impact program Lift supports practitioners who are grappling with that question. If you’re working to improve the quality of public goods, works or services, this program offers an excellent opportunity to get expert assistance to make your project a success. We want to help you to deliver measurable results from your work, showcase your accomplishments, and find allies who’ve faced similar challenges and overcome common barriers to impact.

For guidance on the application process, join our Lift webinar on 11 July (webinar en español, el 12 de julio; webinaire en français, 12 juillet)

But how do you know if your project is the right fit for this program? And what will you achieve?

When the program finishes at the end of 2020, your project should be able to show significant, widespread, documented changes in how public procurement works. Using open contracting, you’ll shift practices and systems, and in turn, improve the delivery of a public good, work or service in one or more ways: what is provided, when, for what price or in what quantity. Your ambitions extend beyond merely publishing more open data. You strive to solve problems and convince others that your solution works with quantitative results that can be verified through rigorous evaluative measurement, such as hard data analysis. (For more on how we define impact, see our strategy).

To get to that stage, you’ll apply a combination of the cornerstones of open contracting: 1) performance- and user-centered design of reforms; 2) publishing and using open data in a machine-readable format that’s free for use and reuse; 3) cross-sectoral engagement and feedback; and 4) learning, sharing, and iteration.

How are others using open contracting to improve public goods, works and services?

You might find some inspiration for your Lift project in the case studies below.

Feeding school children, finding reliable vendors, creating opportunities for local business:

In Bogotá, Colombia, the City’s education secretary and the national public procurement agency worked together to transform the provision of over 700,000 school meals delivered each day, turning it into the highest-ranked school meal program in the country and breaking up a suspected US$22 million price-fixing scheme for fruit. Notably, opening up the process has improved competition significantly by increasing the number of vendors from 12 to 55 in the first year and adding 14 suppliers that had never done business with the city before. MORE

Improving competition, trust, and opportunities for small businesses:

After the Maidan revolution in 2014 in Ukraine, open contracting and the Open Contracting Data Standard were put at the heart of the country’s new Prozorro e-procurement system. The principle was that “everyone sees everything”. The new system led to major savings to government (over US$1 billion and counting) and significantly increased competition (with thousands of new suppliers now working with government). Over 80% of government contracts are now awarded to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and perceptions of corruption have more than halved. Automated red flags and mass civic monitoring and feedback are also embedded in the system, with over 50% of problems flagged being fixed. MORE

Fixing roads, schools, and other public projects:

In Uganda, endemic mismanagement and corruption in contracting have been obstacles to ensuring basic public services are delivered effectively to citizens. Using open contracting mapping tools, civil society organizations convinced public agencies that improving information about contracts would allow the government to work more efficiently and fix the schools, roads and other public projects that communities rely on. The public procurement agency has developed an open contracting portal designed with users in mind, and key government entities say their internal processes and efficiency are starting to improve, while citizens are more confident in discussing their needs and monitoring projects. MORE

Creating more efficient government agencies to deliver better infrastructure:

In Honduras, CoST – the Infrastructure Transparency Initiative is working with citizen monitors, industry associations and other stakeholders to assess the quality of public infrastructure by drastically increasing the availability of project and contract data through a dedicated citizen monitoring platform that promotes active feedback. The results are shaping how infrastructure is being managed. For example, when the road maintenance agency consistently failed to publish information about its projects and contracts, authorities decided to investigate. In multiple cases, they discovered organized crime groups owned the companies who won the deals. The agency has been dismantled and is being rebuilt to be more transparent. MORE

Building and running adequate health clinics and schools:

Abandoned schools and health clinics scattered across Nigeria are evidence of the devastating consequences of corruption and mismanagement in the country’s service delivery projects. A community of activists, academics, journalists, and public servants are using open contracting to understand why communities so rarely benefit from government intervention projects, and helping citizens to work with authorities and contractors to fix them. After a long campaign to open up contracting information, which included the creation of Africa’s first open contracting platform, Budeshi, we are starting to see the first fixes in education and health projects. MORE

There is no shortage of areas in need of reform: from increasing the share of market for women-owned business to understanding investments in climate resilience. What challenge will you tackle?

Tell us all about your reform project. Apply for Lift today.