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Articles by Andrew Mandelbaum:
Uganda’s procurement authority, the Public Procurement Disposal of Public Assets Authority (PPDA), is a pioneer in seeking to improve the use of public funds through open contracting. Through a grant from the Hewlett Foundation, Development Gateway (DG) recently began collaborating with both organizations to further support open contracting in Uganda, taking PPDA and AFIC’s efforts to the next level.
The future of open contracting depends on the ability of governments and citizens to open up the entire public contracting cycle, create feedback channels, and use open contracting data to improve procurement results. But there remain a number of crucial issues that will advance or hinder the open contracting agenda in the years ahead.
At Development Gateway, we are investing in open contracting because we believe in the value it brings for both governments and citizens.
Open contracting aims to enable governments and citizens to more effectively use procurement data in decision making and monitoring of procurement results. While many governments have made commitments to open contracting (OC), their efforts, in a number of instances, have tended to focus on OC compliance.
When it comes to open data, the devil is in the details. Publishing data in an open format is admirable -- but in order to be valuable, the data must meet basic criteria for formatting and standardization. That’s why DG is contributing its open source jOCDS Validator to the international open contracting community. Tested with millions of records, we’re excited to make this easy-to-use, secure tool available to the public.
National and local government officials are in a bind: they spend significant proportions of their budgets on procuring goods, works, and services, but know very little about how effectively they are spending these monies. Citizens and businesses, too, have an interest in knowing that government is purchasing wisely, and that participating in public markets is a worthwhile endeavor.
“Public procurement” sounds bureaucratic and boring, but the stakes of doing it well are high. In West Africa, where we have recently completed a series of scoping studies with the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP), government procurement accounts for nearly 15% of GDP. Beneficiaries of the goods, services, and works procured through public contracts -- citizens -- depend on these funds being well spent.
Over the past several months, Development Gateway and the Open Contracting Partnership have been studying open contracting readiness across West Africa. Today, we are pleased to announce the publication of a series of open contracting scoping studies.
Working with the support of the support of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (UK), we have produced:
At this month’s Open Government Partnership (OGP) Global Summit in Paris, many government and civil society participants will be talking about open contracting. Dozens of countries -- from Nigeria and Paraguay, to France, our hosts -- are committing to implement the principles of open contracting...