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Not a European story, but one that could be considered a model for almost any region; The Guardian runs a report on “The 8p banana that showed Bogotá needed more open public spending.” It’s a success story to take note of as we enter a new year of working towards more public procurement initiatives and improvements, especially in open contracting. It concerns the quality, delivery, price, and origin of school meals in Colombia’s capital and the struggles faced and overcome to achieve transparency. “Colombia had recently (2016) started publishing detailed public contracting records as open data for the first time. So our first port of call was to work with our national procurement agency, Colombia Compra Eficiente, to analyse the US$136m that we were spending on meals and other services. What we found shocked us: severe inefficiency, or worse,” it reports. Read here how radical reforms were made based on an open contracting approach, how a minimum and maximum price for meals was established, how the whole contracting process was made competitive and fully open and how sharing of information on a public online platform in the face of resistance from all directions brought better spending of public money.

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