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Reforming procurement in a crisis

The chaotic scramble to get effective protective equipment to health workers and tests to patients during the global COVID-19 pandemic revealed public procurement is in urgent need of reform. 

That’s where Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) comes in.

With US$10 trillion of spending every year, public contracting is not only the world’s largest marketplace but it is government’s number one corruption risk. However, with the support of BHP Foundation, OCP are transforming public contracting through open data and smarter engagement.

Now, with the world facing the COVID-19 pandemic, OCP’s focus on open data, better coordination, civic monitoring and fast flexible project management is helping countries and local governments navigate the unprecedented and complex challenges facing their communities.  

“It’s perfectly possible to take open approaches – open government, open data – to doing procurement very quickly. And indeed, when you do that, you tend to get better outcomes,” shares Gavin Hayman, executive director of the Open Contracting Partnership.

OCP works with procurement practitioners to address critical issues in their own procurement systems, including bespoke support provided to select teams through the Lift impact accelerator program.

In Moldova, a public platform to display detailed information about the government’s contracts for supplies and services to fight COVID-19 was built in just 60 days.

The platform’s user-friendly dashboards reveal real-time insights to taxpayers and vendors, about price comparisons, how much each health facility has spent, when items are delivered, and which companies are supplying them.

‘Because of Lift, we were able to move faster,’ says Constantin Cearanovski, board member of Positive Initiative, the largest patients’ rights and advocacy group in Moldova.

A community of 30 organizations – including government ministries – now regularly meet to find solutions together.

When emergency procurement corruption scandals began to emerge in Buenos Aires amid the spread of the virus, the public was outraged.

The Lift team from the City Government of Buenos Aires saw an opportunity to act, leveraging their networks and knowledge to advocate for greater transparency in emergency contracts.

Now all emergency procurement processes have been centralized, emergency contract information is open and updated on a regular basis, and the city has established legal anti-corruption strategies, including signed conflict of interest disclosure forms.

Read more about BHP Foundation’s work to enhance governance, help eliminate corruption and effect positive change.