Forty government organisations have committed to implementing open contracting in an attempt to fight corruption. They did so at the Anti-Corruption Summit 2016, which took place in London last week.
According to Gavin Hayman, Executive Director of the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) open public contracting offers the biggest hope for ending corruption. Government spending through private companies to deliver works, goods and services to citizens is the single biggest item of spending by government, amounting world-wide to a staggering USD 9.5 trillion each year, or 15 percent of global GDP. This concentration of money, government discretion, and secrecy makes public contracting so vulnerable to corruption. Data on prosecutions tracked by the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention shows that roughly 60 percent of bribes were paid to win public contracts.
Several countries have committed to implementing the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), an open data standard for publishing data and documents at all stages of the contracting process. Colombia, France, Mexico, Ukraine and the UK have announced plans to form an innovation and learning partnership, the so-called the Contracting 5. Some countries will prioritise open contracting for high-risk, high-profile investments, like the UK, which will do so for its billion dollar high-speed rail infrastructure project HS2, and Mexico, for its new airport. Others will start trials in open contracting in the health sector.