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About Open Up Contracting

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Governments worldwide spend an estimated US$ 9.5 trillion on public contracting. Contracting is an essential step in delivering goods and services that people care about: good public education, quality health care, safe roads and clean drinking water.

However, public contracting processes are complex and vulnerable to bad planning, mismanagement, fraud and corruption. According to the UN Office of Drugs and Crime, corruption and fraud may amount to 20-25% of procurement budgets. This is wasted taxpayer money.

Open contracting is about making data and documents from the entire contracting process available in accordance with the Open Contracting Data Standard: from the planning phase, to the tender and award of the contract, to the monitoring and evaluation of implementation. Making public contracting more transparent, fair and efficient has multiple benefits for everyone.

Benefits of open contracting

By opening the public contracting process and data, governments can save tax money, make better use of public resources, deliver better public goods and services, boost integrity, and prevent fraud and corruption.

This creates a level playing field for businesses through fair competition, stimulates innovation, and improves the overall business and investment climate.

Citizens gain a clearer insight into how their taxes are being spent on the goods and services they need and use, they can engage in those processes, and they can access better quality goods and services that result from more transparent, competitive contracting processes.

Civic Engagement for Open Contracting

Reformers in governments around the world have started to engage in implementing open contracting. While there is a considerable push at the international and inter-state levels to support governments in open contracting initiatives, local civil society organisations (CSOs) are often unrecognised and unsupported in their work. Yet, CSOs are, an essential part of the change process and play a key role in both the planning as well as in monitoring of implementation phases.

Infomediaries, actors that monitor, analyse and contextualise complex contracting data so it can be understood and used by wider segments of society, also play a very special role in opening up contracting.

Therefore, Hivos and ARTICLE 19 have launched the programme, Open Up Public Contracting, to support CSOs, journalists, entrepreneurs, start-ups and other frontline organisations in the selected focus countries to develop the capacities they need to engage in the open contracting agenda and to translate contracting data and documents into actionable information for evidence-based advocacy with governments.