Case Studies: Procurements

ConstructionsGhana (7)

An important category of government spending data is data on public procurements. Procurement data concerns works, services, and goods commissioned by public authorities. The tight regulations that generally apply to public procurements create an excellent opportunity for data publication and reuse.

In this section, we look at three CSO projects that have made use of procurement data, exploring what value these CSOs have found in the data, what challenges they’ve faced, and what tools they have used to address those challenges.

We have found that procurement data serves an important purpose for promoting financial transparency in many countries. In particular, it is often able to fill in the blanks when transactional spending data is not available. At the national level, most EU countries do not publish transactional spending data, with the exceptions of the United Kingdom and Slovenia; nor in general do public agencies outside national government such as regional or municipal government, despite a sizeable share of government spending taking place at these levels.

Global initiatives such as OpenContracting of the World Bank Institute and more recently the procurement initiative of the Sunlight Foundation confirm that momentum is growing to promote transparency in procurement. The case studies in this section show that accessing and analysing procurement data can provide substantial improvements to the state of financial transparency, but also that data formats, data quality, and disclosure policies remain barriers for utilizing the full potential from procurement data. These issues deserve attention as procurement transparency gains momentum.