Open contracting in the U.S.
3 steps on how to implement open contracting and help U.S. businesses access the federal market
Commitment to support open contracting in the Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, September 2016. New commitments.
The U.S. has made the following commitments supporting open contracting and generally follows open contracting principles. In 2016, both at the U.S.-Mexico High-Level Economic Dialogue and the UK Anti-Corruption Summit in London, it has pledged to work towards implementing the Open Contracting Data Standard — a schema for sharing timely, reusable open data on public contracting. The U.S. Government will also promote the standard in international fora, such as the G20 and OGP anti-corruption working groups.
The federal government, which is the world’s largest buyer of goods and services, offers some good examples of open contracting practices. They include:
- All prime contract opportunities above $25,000 are available online on Fed Biz Opps.
- Post award data is available online in the Federal Procurement Data System.
- All contractors must be registered in the System for Award Management, which also lists blacklisted contractors.
- Dispute mechanisms are available through the Government Accountability Office, the Civilian Board of Contract Appeals and the Armed Services Board of Contract Appeals, all of which publish decisions online. Federal courts may also have primary or appellate jurisdiction.
- All federal spending data, including procurement through contracts, is being standardized and published online at a new version of USAspending.gov (see beta version).
But there are also opportunities for improvement. Without the Open Contracting Data Standard, it is currently difficult to link pre-award and post-award data. ,Also, important procurement documents are not publicly available, including proposals, the actual contract, and both solicitations and award notices for orders under “indefinite delivery, indefinite quantity” (IDIQ) contracts;
We are suggesting the U.S. government take three steps toward more efficient and open contracting.
Step 1: Ensure the solicitation number is entered into USAspending.gov.
Step 2: Export from USAspending (or FPDS) to OCDS.
Step 3: Export from FedBizOpps to OCDS.
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