Imagine the year stopped on 12 September, about two-thirds through. You only had 255 days instead of 365.
You’d feel cheated right? Yet, something like that is what keeps happening in the world of government contracting. People aren’t getting what they deserve. In infrastructure, for example, research by the International Monetary Fund shows there is a 30% efficiency gap between the money spent on infrastructure and the quality of what gets built.
We launched our second master plan this year to build a global community of policy and practice to close that gap. You can read about the big shifts we are making in our work here and about our new programs to deliver those changes like Open Contracting Lift here.
One of our key reflections was that we needed to do more to celebrate the progress, energy, and innovation that we see across our community and that we were blown away by in 2019.
Here are some of the stories of use, progress, and impact that stood out for us this year:
- Open contracting data is powering the innovative tools developed by data journalists in the Kyrgyz Republic to investigate corruption. Meanwhile, the procurement agency has published its open contracting API which will help facilitate even wider use of the data.
- Reformers in Chile have been working to publish better public procurement data. The data was used by civil society organizations to expose conflicts of interest and abuse of direct contracting in the main medicines agency CENABAST, leading to personnel and policy changes.
- Ukraine’s open contracting reforms are a gift that keeps on giving, contributing to the development of the first open-data-driven online store for selling state assets, Prozorro.Sale. This groundbreaking system unlocks the hidden value of the other side of the government’s balance sheet.
- In Uganda, determined civil society advocates are convincing the government that open contracting can improve services. Early evidence of better access and monitoring will hopefully convert into impacts in 2020.
- With consistent community pressure and open data, there has been a dramatic improvement in how funds for school facilities are spent in Ciudad del Este, Paraguay. And the government is working on embedding red flags into its procurement system too.
- After an unprecedented transfer of power to a new reformist coalition, Malaysia has publicly committed to open contracting and completed two open contracting demonstration projects around red flags and infrastructure planning.
- In Honduras, allies and partners used civic monitoring to track and improve infrastructure projects, driving fixes and policy improvements including using open contracting data.
- One of the UK’s largest daily news programs, BBC Newsnight used open contracting data to investigate how social care procurement in the UK may put vulnerable children at risk.
- Graft-prone Moldova is piloting a radically transparent e-procurement system called MTender, which saved 14% on competitive tenders in a year (saving €25 million) and increased its supplier base by 30%.
- We supported local activists and the City of Philadelphia to launching best-value and performance-driven tendering for $25 million of city catering contracts in schools and prisons.
- The G7 issued high-level endorsements of open contracting, while the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative took the landmark step of mandating its members to publish their oil and mining contracts.
We’d like to thank you for supporting us this year by providing your expertise, cheerleading and adding your voice to the conversation about how we can get radically improved goods and services with public money. Whether in Arusha, Cali, Chisinau, Ottawa or Taipei, the energy and experience on offer is inspiring.
Together we can make public contracting 10 times better and ensure it delivers 100% for citizens.
See you in 2020! We will be kicking the year off sharing more progress from some unexpected places!