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Open Contracting: A New Frontier for Transparency and Accountability

This report provides an overview of emerging practices and methodologies of disclosure and participation in public contracting (collectively referred to as ‘open contracting’). It begins by introducing the importance of public contracting, its vulnerabilities, and the nascent proposition that increased disclosure and participation practices in public contracting support improved value-for- money for governments, a level playing field for the private sector, improved development outcomes for international donors, and high quality delivery of goods, works and services for citizens.

The subsections of this report then outline the practical actions that are already being taken by governments, civil society, private sector, and donors to support open contracting with reference to concrete examples from around the world as well as the rationales behind them. These sections also detail some of the core challenges to the implementation of successful open contracting and the constraints related to capacity, political economy, and sustainability. The report then explores how open contracting practices and principles complement existing sector-specific transparency and open government initiatives.

Finally, the report concludes with a discussion of some of the needs to overcome existing challenges and the role for the recently launched Open Contracting Partnership in realizing the potential impact of open contracting.