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Increasing Integrity and Trust in Public Procurement

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Increasing Integrity and Trust in Public Procurement (Transparency International)

Summary Advice: Transparancy International recommends that public procurement systems need to be robust, transparent and open to public monitoring. Only then can governments, bidders and contractors be held to account for how public money is spent, and corruption can be prevented. Corruption siphons off public funds, obstructs the functioning of the single market, and distorts fair competition, therefore the inclusion of strong anti-corruption provisions is a way of increasing efficiency and creating the potential for substantial and immediate cost-savings.

Main Points:

Countries should create new mechanisms that “would allow public authorities and their supplier to conclude transparent, competitive contracts”. Such steps are needed if corruption risks are to be mitigated and for public procurement to be efficient. Transparancy International is convinced that an increase in efficiency and value for money of public expenditure could enhance economic growth in the years to come.

Introduce e-Procurement Systems
To achieve better value for money, the EU should facilitate robust and comprehensive e-procurement systems and standards around Europe, which would help to foster access, competition, impartiality and transparency as well as control by civil society. In the aim of reducing costs, the national or EU e-procurement online platform could also be used to publish final contracts and amendments.

Strengthen National Monitoring Systems for Public Procurement
Effective national oversight bodies are necessary to tackle the deficiencies identified in most EU member states, including the use of thresholds. An effective ‘red flag’ indicator system should be established, with a common set of criteria and methodology to allow for cross-country comparisons.

Promote and Ensure Public Scrutiny 
Public stakeholders, such as interest groups, civil society and the public at large, should be given a stronger role in the oversight of public procurement processes. It is essential that as much data, documents and information are publically available from the start of the process and provisions to ensure citizens’ access to all relevant information are included.

Increase Transparency in Procurement Process
To counterbalance legislative loopholes and to enable public scrutiny, details of final contracts and subsequent amendments should be made public. While a balance must be found between transparency and confidentiality this information should be disclosed, including contracts both above and below thresholds.

Promote the Strengthening of Legal Frameworks of Local Governments
A country should urge local governments to bring their legal provisions concerning bribery and corruption (including facilitation payments) in line with the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), which has been ratified by almost all member states.

Strengthen Provisions on Conflicts of Interest and Exemptions
Conflict of interest and how to deal with it throughout the procurement cycle need to be clearly defined in legislation, including clear guidelines on implementation, monitoring and sanctions. Current proposals are detailed but there is scope to tighten these rules. Exemptions from thresholds for specific sectors, which lead to reduced scrutiny and oversight, should be limited and regulated by strict rules.

Include Provisions on Whistleblower Protection 
To strengthen the detection of corruption cases in public procurement and to facilitate the reporting of mismanagement and misconduct, the implementation of a well-functioning whistleblowing system in all member states is essential.

Source: TI (2012) "Increasing Integrity and EU Citizens' Trust in Public Procurement" Regional Policy Paper #1, Berg J. and Fagan C. (accessed 1 June 2013).

Page Created By: Matthew Seddon and Ben Eisen at 1 June 2013. The content presented on this page is drawn directly from the source(s) cited above, and consists of direct quotations or close paraphrases. This material does not necessarily reflect the official view of the publishing organization.


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School of Public Policy and Governance