Without open contracting, governments cannot eradicate corruption
Government leaders should pledge to transform the global economy with openness, fairness and transparency. This cannot happen without open contracting. Trillions of dollars flow through public contracts globally, making public procurement and government contracting the most vulnerable sector to corruption. Too often secrecy in public contracting weakens government, stifles business competition, and robs citizens of essential goods, services and infrastructure. The risks are too big to ignore.
Open contracting is the antidote. Better disclosure through open data and increased civic and business engagement can transform government deal making, saving time and money, breathing new life into stagnant markets, and empowering citizens to hold politicians and companies to account.
Open public contracting creates a level-playing field for companies and creates opportunities for new, often marginalised businesses. Open data on contracts provides powerful analytics to shape more informed decisions and choose the best solution for a given task. When business and citizens can track and engage meaningfully in the contracting process, higher quality goods, services and infrastructure result.
We are calling on government leaders attending the Anti-Corruption Summit to take three steps. First, make public contracts open by default, putting an unambiguous public disclosure clause in all government contracts. Second, to publish timely, machine-readable, and reusable procurement data — start by disclosing existing procurement information and scale up to cover the entire contracting process, including planning, tender, award, contract and performance. Third, governments should innovate by working with businesses and civil society to identify problems and create better, smarter processes.
From Slovakia to Mexico, governments adopting open contracting already see improvements in the quality of public procurement. In Ukraine, for example, the government, businesses and civil society came together to build a new world-class and fully transparent procurement system based around the Open Contracting Data Standard, saving of over 13% on over $250 million in public contracts whilst business competition increased almost 50%. In South Korea, the time taken to process bids dropped from 30 hours to just two after introducing a new open e-procurement system.
The Open Contracting Partnership is collaborating with champions in over 10 countries who are taking steps to ensure public money is well spent. We run a global open data helpdesk to support publishers and users of contracting data in over 30 countries. There has never been a better time to commit to open contracting, and to start reaping the rewards of a more transparent, fair system for all.