October 27, 2019
Every year, governments spend huge sums of money through contracts, on everything from pencils and paper to building major infrastructure projects such as airports.
Open contracting is the bricks and mortar of public benefit, where taxpayers’ money gets converted into schools, roads and hospitals, into things that ordinary people really care about.
Open contracting is about publishing and using open, accessible and timely information on government contracting to engage citizens and businesses in identifying and fixing problems.
Open contracting delivers better deals for governments, provides a level playing field for the private sector, and high-quality goods and services for citizens.
Open contracting involves the full chain of government deal-making, from concessions of natural resources to procurement of goods, works, and services for citizens. It starts at the planning stage, and covers tenders, awarding, and implementation of all public contracts.
At the heart of our work is a global, non-proprietary data standard, the Open Contracting Data Standard. It is not a pass-or-fail standard but a schema to provide shareable, reusable, machine-readable open data on public contracting across the entire cycle of public procurement. The data standard is the basis for building and sharing tools that use and analyze this information.
But publishing government contracts through the data standard is only the first step in open contracting. Using this data to analyze and monitor public procurement is equally important. Citizens have long been monitoring projects in vital services areas such as education and health or infrastructure works including roads. Better data on the underlying contracts will unlock new opportunities for scrutiny and feedback and new opportunities to fix problems.
Publishing and using structured and standardized information about public contracting can help stakeholders to: deliver better value for money for governments,create fairer competition and a level playing field for business, especially smaller firms,drive higher-quality goods, works, and services for citizens,prevent fraud and corruption,promote smarter analysis and better solutions for public problems.
This public access to open contracting data builds trust and ensures that the trillions of dollars spent by governments result in better services, goods, and infrastructure projects.