Time to Open Up Contracting

By Felipe Estefan

Many of us at the IACC fight against corruption not just because we must eradicate corruption. We fight against corruption not just because it is what we should do or what we need to. Ultimately, the fight against corruption goes beyond corruption itself; it is a fight for a better life for citizens around the world.

Contracting is central in this mission of improving the everyday lives of citizens.

Quite simply: every time goverment has to fulfill one of its responsibilities, every time government delivers a service, it must do so through contracts.

Building roads requires contracts. Providing medicines to citizens requires contracts. Building public schools requires contracts. Developing natural resources requires contracts. Contracting is at the core of how government conducts its business.

Yet, today, in many countries, citizens are not benefitting as much as they should from public resources. Corruption and opaque contracting processes lead to ineffective use of public funds, and it is citizens who pay the price.

Open Contracting is a collaborative effort focused on enhancing disclosure and participation around contracting processes.

During an Open Contracting game changers session at the IACC, participants from across sectors and regions discussed the path to making contracting processes more transparent, more open, and ultimately, more effective.

Sharing experiences from efforts in places like Uganda and Brazil, participants discussed the importance of collective action and collaborative innovation in order to establish a new global norm in which contracting is expected to be open and in which a wide range of stakeholders are able to monitor contracts and hold government accountable.

The conversation about Open Contracting is on going. If you are interested in learning more about how to be part of this growing global movement, visit www.open-contracting.org or follow @OpenContracting.

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  1. Perry Aritua

    Indeed open contracting plays a major role in empowering citizens with information. One set back to this is the fact that most documents are written in English. A big number of citizens in rural Uganda especially, cannot read English. This dis-empowers them and is a challenge that needs to be addressed through civil society organizations (CSOs). CSOs should take up the role of simplifying documents and translating them in local languages that citizens can understand.This will enable them to play a bigger role in holding leaders who mis-use public funds accountable.