Transforming public contracting through open data & smarter engagement
Public contracts matter.
One in every three dollars spent by government is on a contract with a company. Public contracting is the world’s largest marketplace, covering $10 trillion of spending every year.
It is the bricks and mortar of public benefit where the vital goods, works, and services for us all are purchased. Yet, too many governments don’t seem to know what they are buying and selling, for how much, when and with whom they are dealing. And it’s government’s number one corruption risk.
Open contracting can change all this. We can transform how business is done by engaging stakeholders across government, business and civil society to collaborate on reforms, engage users, respond to feedback and to create open data & tools to drive systematic change.
A modern economy needs a smart, data-driven government contracting ecosystem. We bring governments, businesses, and citizens together to build one.
Open contracting works!
We have documented a whole range of benefits:
- Better value for money for governments
- Fairer competition and a level playing field for business, especially smaller firms
- Higher-quality goods, works, and services for citizens,
- Preventing fraud and corruption
- Smarter analysis and better solutions for public problems
“When we went to the field with information provided by the procuring entity, a lot of projects were very different to what was on paper. The utility of having standards came to the fore.”
“For citizens to be engaged in promoting accountability for effective service delivery, they must have information on the contracts in their localities.”
“We realized there was no way to fix this if we didn’t go beyond the individual and create something bigger; to become a platform for young leaders to take the fight on.”
“When you don’t have the right incentives, you don’t have a fair market.”
“We had been trying to participate directly in the school feeding program for the last 12 years. Now, we can sell to the city directly.”
“With the Open Contracting Data Standard it was like asking me to dig an Olympic pool and giving me an excavator instead of a teaspoon.”
“When we started Prozorro, at first they didn’t believe, then they laughed, then they started putting obstacles in our way. And then we won. It was too late.”
“There are no trade secrets in public contracts. Winning business through an open contracting process is not altruism, it’s good business.”
Follow the money
Open contracting is about following the money across the entire chain of public contracts from their planning to their tendering and award and onto their delivery and implementation. Our Open Contracting Data Standard provides a way to join all this information together with unique identifiers making all the information sortable and shareable.
A new global norm
Open contracting has become a new global norm, recommended and endorsed by global bodies such as the G7, the G20, OECD, the European Commission, the World Bank, and the European Bank of Reconstruction and Development.
Global open government and open data initiatives such as the Open Government Partnership and the Open Data Charter also support opening up public contracts as a priority issue. A government’s commercial relationships is one of the most valuable datasets that it possesses: it’s where the money and the power are in government.
Opening it leads to fundamentally better outcomes for government (more insight, analysis and efficiency), for business (fairer competition, ability to research the market, fostering entrepreneurship) and civil society (improved integrity, better monitoring and tracking of service delivery). See here why openness is better.
Our Global Principles were created by over 200 stakeholders across government, business and civil society. They provide a framework to guide policy and practical changes needed to transform our public spending worldwide to deliver massively increased value and quality.
But perhaps the best endorsement of open contracting is the 50+ cities, regions and governments opening up their contracting to get better results for their citizens.
Our vision of a modern and efficient procurement system that works for everyone
We support systemic reforms for fair and effective public contracting. We help innovations jump scale. And we are building a global community to shape and share the policies, data, tools, and results that will get us there.
We see open contracting is a journey rather than a single destination. Here are the common stages that we have seen from reforms that get to real impact and systemic change. Click on each stage to find out more.
Publish, use and improve open data
The world is moving from paper to data.
We help redesign public contracting – from planning, to tender and awards and onto contract management – as a user-friendly digital service with standardized open data to enable automated data gathering and business analytics and a variety of stakeholders to use the information.
Improve stakeholder engagement and oversight
Improving transparency and information is a means to an end. Acting on that information is what creates change. Engaging and responding to stakeholders leads to better planning, contracting and contract management processes. The evidence is clear: engineering feedback loops into public contracting encourages competition, fair play and better performance.
Measure, adapt and institutionalize reforms
Change is hard and progress is never linear. It is important to be agile, to have permission to experiment, measure and adapt. You need allies to succeed; sharing progress builds trust and engagement.
New policies and processes need to be hardwired into practices and embedded in legislation and institutional changes.
Set clear policy goals for public contracting
At the heart of open contracting is driving better results from procurement and from public contracts.
The whole contracting process should be simple, accessible and inclusive, designed with users across government, businesses, and civil society to maximize participation, integrity and efficiency.
We support reformers to set, measure and achieve their goals.