What is the most important role open contracting plays in the fight against corruption?
By using standards to publish information to procurement procedures, open contracting provides better linked data to track problems in procurement. Producing easily accessible information contributes to the rise of the awareness of all stakeholders. For instance, under these circumstances, an economic operator can easily initiate a review mechanism, public bodies know that they are under survey, and anti-corruption units can easily track the red flags. Also, the media, NGOs, and citizens can track issues.
What has been your proudest moment or achievement in building accountability or transparency in government?
Disrupting the status quo, which had been cemented more than 30 years in remedy systems. We’ve helped transform Albania’s Public Procurement Commission (PPC) from an opaque institution, where it was difficult to have any information, to an open-door institution, where everything is transparent.
For your fellow open contracting champions out there—what is the #1 piece of advice you would share with a reformer working to increase accountability, transparency, or participation in government?
Believe in the power of transparency and never give up! Transparency is not a matter of speed, but of destination. Being open and transparent is not an easy task. Not everyone will be happy, but it is the only way to build modern public institutions.
What has been the most unexpected challenge you’ve faced in this work?
The mindset! More than technology, the most unexpected challenge was changing the mindset of public officers.
What’s your go-to resource for building accountability in public procurement?
Our complaints system is open to all, easy, and accessible even for a person with visual impairments. This kind of designation promotes responsibility for all stakeholders.
This year we had a nomination process for the first time. Who would YOU nominate for this Advancing Accountability champions campaign? Who do you look up to?
I do not have a specific proposal because being part of the OCP community teaches me every day that there are a lot of visionary and inspiring leaders around the world. I would nominate everyone who puts passion at the heart of their reforms, changes the status quo, and improves services for all stakeholders.
Transparency and accountability are just the means to an end. In your work, what are the most important end goals? How can reducing corruption risk create better social, economic, or environmental outcomes?
Every day, the Public Procurement Commission faces different challenges. Quality and speed in the compliant review are the two most important performance indicators in PPC’s work. Reducing the level of corruption in public procurement is not an easy or rapid process in time. We are working daily to achieve it by increasing trust and awareness and contributing to the development of the economy.
If public procurement was an animal, which one do you think it would be and why?
Surely an eagle, as eagles have a vision, are fearless and patient, prepared for training, possess vitality, fly at high altitudes, and see everything. This is how the procurement process and procurement leaders should be!