Global Data Barometer: Most countries share some data on the billions spent on public contracts, but not enough to detect corruption or assess value for money
While some data on public procurement is available for most of the 109 countries analyzed, only nine publish data for the full procurement process from planning to implementation stifling use and effective oversight
Washington, D.C. – Nearly all countries included in the latest Global Data Barometer publish some government procurement data online (99 out of 109 or 91%), but less than half (50 countries, 46%) release it in machine-readable formats. This dramatically limits how the information can be used to ensure that public contracts benefit society as intended. Launched today by the Data for Development Network (D4D.net) and ILDA, the Barometer analyzes how 109 countries manage and release data into the public domain related to important public matters, including health, environment, public finances, and political integrity, and how the data is used for the public good. The report includes a section on public contracting, a market valued at $13 trillion worldwide, that is vital to delivering goods, works and services to citizens.
Timely, accessible and complete information on contracting is critical to understanding how governments spend money and to managing procurement in a way that benefits people, communities and businesses. The Barometer finds critical gaps in the available data that would enable someone to analyze value for money, efficiency, and competition, and detect corruption. Only 38% of countries publish a description of the goods, services or works being procured in machine-readable formats. This can limit analysis to manual review and makes certain valuable calculations impractical. Similarly, machine-readable data on the value of each tender, award, or contract is published by 39% of countries, on the start and end dates for tender processes and/or contracts by 37%. Some 36% of the countries publish identifiers or other features that link data on each stage of a single procurement process, and the same share publish machine-readable data on names and unique identifiers for companies awarded contracts.
Even fewer countries, nine, publish data for all key stages of the process from planning, to tender, award and implementation.
“To meet the challenge of building sustainable and equitable societies in the 21st century, we can’t rely on slow, outdated, paper-based procurement systems wasting precious public funds. It is clear that tools such as the Open Contracting Data Standard that guide governments on standardizing, publishing and linking open data on public procurement are helping governments to get data-driven results for citizens. We saw this very clearly during the pandemic. And it’s become more urgent now to deliver the billions invested in the recovery on infrastructure and public services.”Gavin Hayman, Executive Director of the Open Contracting Partnership
Four out of the five highest ranked countries – Ukraine, Paraguay, Kosovo, and Colombia – publish open data in the Open Contracting Data Standard, the global best practice schema. Oversight and civil society engagement powered by such open data has had a measurable impact on people’s lives: in Ukraine, medicine prices went down by as much as 40% and in Paraguay, the schools most in need are four times more likely to receive funding for repairs. In Kazakhstan, during the pandemic contracts worth over US$2 million were canceled or terminated following investigations by data monitors. In Kosovo, during the pandemic 46 civil society organizations monitored public contracting with 20 cases of suspected corruption in public procurement submitted to the public prosecutor’s office. In Colombia, open data has helped boost participation & competitive tendering in a market where direct awards are common.
For the first time, the Global Data Barometer has also reviewed how actors are using available data. In a third of the countries analyzed (37%) there are contracting data use initiatives led by civil society groups, including data-driven dashboards (34%) and analysis of red flags (28%) around public corruption risks. Civil society was identified as a critical main user, ensuring monitoring and civic participation.
There were only two cases of procurement data being used to support sustainable and environmental procurement or to improve access to procurement opportunities for marginalized groups: in the Dominican Republic and the Netherlands.
Full scores for the top five countries were:
|Country||Average score||Availability||Use||URL machine readable|
|Kazakhstan||87||95||50||Public Procurement Kazakhstan Unified Services and Rest API|
Notes for editors
- Report: The Global Data Barometer is available at: https://globaldatabarometer.org/
- Global value of public procurement: Open Contracting Partnership and Spend Network estimate that governments around the world spend $13 trillion a year on contracts for goods, services and public works.
- Access to open data on public contracts: For a one-stop access to standardized open data in the Open Contracting Data Standard of more than 30 countries, Open Contracting Partnership has developed the Data Registry at http://data.open-contracting.org. The platform is currently in beta with limited download functionalities.
- Methodology: Open Contracting Partnership provided advice on the methodology to analyze public procurement data. The data collection and analysis is under the full responsibility of the Global Data Barometer and carried out independently. For a detailed explanation of the methodology check https://globaldatabarometer.org/research/methodology
About the Open Contracting Partnership
The Open Contracting Partnership is a silo-busting collaboration across governments, businesses, civil society, and technologists to open up and transform government contracting worldwide. We bring open data and open government together to make public contracting fair and effective. Spun out of the World Bank in 2015, we are now an independent not-for-profit working in over 30 countries around the world. We help make reforms stick and innovations jump scale, and foster a culture of openness about the policies, teams, tools, data, and results needed to deliver impact.