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Publishing government contracts can bring many benefits: companies, especially new bidders, have a clearer idea of the goods and services they will bid to provide; governments benefit from increased competition among contractors and product quality; and civil society would have the opportunity to keep track on the value for the money invested and the service delivery. Despite the multiple benefits, contract publication also generates concerns regarding the potential administrative and financial and burden on contracting parties, issues of national and commercial secrecy, possible facilitation of collusion among bidders, and privacy issues, among others. The Publish What You Buy working group concluded with recommendation that adress these concerns and efficient ways to address them while maximizing transparency.
Chaired by senior fellow Charles Kenny, the Publish What You Buy working group includes members with expertise in government contracting issues across a wide range of sectors and geographic regions.
Working Group Members
Lesley Coldham, Tullow Oil, UK
Jeff Gutman, Brookings Institute
Patrick Heller, Natural Resource Governance Institute
Mathias Huter, Independent
Alan Hudson, Global Integrity
Michael Jarvis, World Bank Charles Kenny, CGD
Dubem Jideonwo, Initiative for Global Development
Tam Nguyen, Bechtel
Caroline Nicholas, UNCITRAL
Chrik Poortman, Construction Sector Transparency Initiative
Joe Powell, Open Government Partnership William Savedoff, CGD
Akilagpa Sawyerr, Laryea, Laryea & Co., P.C.
Marcos Siquera-Moraes, PPP unit, Minas Gerais
Gabriel Sipos, Transparency International
Tina Soereide, CMI, Norway
Chris Taggart, Open Corporates
Government contracts regarding the use of public property and finances should be published by default. Many jurisdictions already require that contracts be made public in response to requests for the information; some now publish contracts proactively. Doing so helps new entrants compete in the market for public contracts, helps governments model their projects on other successful examples, and allows citizens greater insight into how their taxes are being spent. This provides a practical outline for reaping the benefits of open contracts while addressing legitimate concerns about costs, collusion, privacy, commercial secrecy, and national security.