Open contracting delivers
and why it’s the smart thing to do

Value for money and value to many

Openness in public contracting is not just a nice concept put forward by do-gooders. It genuinely leads to greater impact. Open contracting makes public procurement fairer, more efficient and more sustainable.

Open data means sharing better information with the marketplace, improving efficiency and competition. It also means better monitoring and data-driven decision-making to improve performance and quantify the impact of reforms. It supports feedback and engagement by business and citizens, increasing buy-in and creating allies to support reforms. Openness, participation and cooperation across government, business, and civil society helped sustain reforms and deepen their impact.

Open contracting stories

More than 50 countries and cities, from Argentina to Zambia, are pursuing open contracting reforms. It takes hard work, political will, technical skills, and sustained engagement. Explore stories from around the world that show how open contracting is changing lives.

The evidence

Don’t just take our word for it.

Academic research shows that improved openness and transparency is good for public integrity, value for money and competition when it is linked to systemic changes that allow people to use the information.

A study of more than 3.5 million government contracts across Europe shows that publishing more information about contracts decreases the risk of single bid tenders. This matters because single bid contracts are both a governance risk and are over 7% more expensive. Publishing five more pieces of information about each tender would save Europe up to 3.6 billion Euros.

A World Bank survey of 34,000 companies in 88 countries found that competition was higher and kickbacks were fewer and smaller in places where transparent procurement, independent complaint procedures and external auditing are in place.

Country studies also show that openness combined with monitoring works.

In Peru, a study from Columbia University looked at the impact of transparency and monitoring of contracts on the procurement process of infrastructure projects and found that monitoring decreased costs by 50%.

A randomized control study of road works projects in Afghanistan found that new roads were of significantly higher quality and more durable in neighborhoods where the community had monitored the implementation of the project.

This expert report by the Center for Global Development covers evidence of reduced prices, increased competition and better services when contracting is opened up.

How we measure impact

Sustained implementation of open contracting takes time and rarely proceeds on a smooth, linear path. We set a high bar for measuring impact and don’t stop at simply publishing data. For us, impact means significant, widespread, documented change in competition, savings, service delivery, and/or improvement in governance or public trust.

We work on the ground with partners across government, business, and civil society to catalyze and assist specific local reforms at the city, regional and national level.

We have developed resources to help you measure impact from the start of procurement reforms and we regularly write about what we have learned from our interventions.

Get in touch if you’d like help measure your impact.

Contact our experts

Kathrin Frauscher,
Deputy Executive Director