We wrote here an introduction to the Open Contracting Innovation Challenge, which is a competition run by the Open Contracting Partnership and the Open Data Institute to recognize ground-breaking data-driven ideas for improving public procurement. The Innovation Challenge honors original ideas for managing, analyzing, and monitoring how governments buy goods and services, as well as cutting-edge approaches to publishing what gets bought, when, from whom, and for how much.

The competition looks for innovators who understand the transformational impact better public contracting can have on people’s lives. 88 teams from 40 countries responded to the challenge:  How would you use data to strengthen the integrity and effectiveness of public procurement? Six finalists have been chosen, and we promised you a synopsis of each innovation. The first two we mentioned are here, and the second two are:

NOCOPO

NOCOPO, the Nigerian Open Contracting Portal of the Bureau for Public Procurement in Nigeria, is a pioneering project with civil society and business to use open data underpinned by legal reform to make information about corruption in the country’s procurement sector more accessible, transparent and accountable to the public.

Here’s their idea:

Procurement in Nigeria is rife with inefficiencies, fraud, and corruption. Up until now, government has not been proactive in disclosing its procurement information. Civil society, the media, and citizens had to rely on freedom of information requests to monitor the procurement process and delivery of services and works, and analyzing actual government spending has been challenging.

The BPP is building its first-ever unified public procurement approach, the Nigerian Open Contracting Portal or NOCOPO, that will publish open data from over 750 government agencies to the Open Contracting Data Standard so that various stakeholders can use and engage with government procurement data. The team is committed to standardizing the data – Government procurement data from all stages of procurement cycle, including the covering, planning, tender, award, contract and implementation stages – and creating tools for people to engage with it, tracking procurement plans against actual procurement spend records.

Through opening up its procurement information, the government will improve transparency to prevent corruption, enhance active citizen participation and feedback towards achieving better service delivery and increase ease of doing business in Nigeria. It has the potential to transform how the Nigerian government collects, monitors and shares its procurement data, not only of great benefit to the government’s internal processes but also an important tool in fostering transparency and trust with citizens.

Datlab

Datlab is a civic tech firm of a team of IT and economic professionals from the Czech Republic. It aims to rank public buyers on transparency, competition and procurement results based on OCDS data.

Here’s their idea:

While information about tenders and contracts is available in the Czech Republic, suppliers and potential government contractors don’t know how good of a buyer government agencies are. Do they pay on time? Will they change the contract after signature? While government agencies claim to be transparent and efficient, there is little proof to back these claims up.

Datlab has developed Zindex, a ranking of public buyers such as municipalities or government agencies in the Czech Republic. It provides comprehensive information on the practices of contracting authorities. Through the challenge, the methodology will be adjusted and standardized to match with the Open Contracting Data Standard so that it can be replicated globally.

The ranking will give public agencies a motivation to work towards implementing policies which promote transparency and efficiency in their procurement practices. It will lead to less waste of public money, more competition, and less bid-rigging.

Stay tuned for Part 3, looking at the two remaining of the 6 finalists.

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