Each year, governments around the world spend over $9 trillion dollars of citizens’ money through public contracts. All too often, however, “little to no data is made available to the public about these contracts. If data is available, it is often supplied in ways which make analysis very challenging or downright impossible,” writes the Open Contracting Blog. The goal of Open Contracting Partnership is to increase the number of government contracts that are publicly disclosed, encourage greater scrutiny and analysis of those contracts by those inside and outside of government to the end of saving taxpayer dollars, decreasing corruption and improving societal outcomes.
This week the Open Contracting Partnership announced the selection of Gavin Hayman, Executive Director of Global Witness, which has led significant efforts in the fields of openness and fiscal transparency such as the Publish What You Pay movement, as the new Executive Director of the newly independent Partnership.
In addition, the Partnership named a new Advisory Board of Directors to be chaired by Robert Hunja, the World Bank’s Director for Public Integrity and Openness.
“As someone who has worked on procurement and public contracting his whole life, it has been heartening for me to see such strong interest and growing engagement around open contracting,” writes Hunja. “It is an honor to chair the new Advisory Board of Directors, a group of talented and experienced individuals, which will ensure the Partnership continues to advance this crucial agenda.”
Rakesh Rajani, the future Director of Democratic Participation and Governance at the Ford Foundation, will serve as the Vice-Chair of the Board. Mr. Rajani is the outgoing head of the citizen-centered initiative Twaweza, a founding member of the Open Government Partnership and an advisor of multiple transparency-led international initiatives and civil society organizations.
Ten additional representatives from government, civil society, and private sector complete the Advisory Board, to which they bring a wealth of views and experiences. I am deeply honored to be among them.
- Mohammed Amin Adam, Executive Director of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy.
- Chris Anderson, Adjunct Professor of Anthropology at the University of Queensland, and Lead for Communities & Social Performance in the Americas for Rio Tinto.
- Alan Detheridge, Board Member of the Natural Resources Governance Institute, the Natural Resource Charter, Management Sciences for Health and former Vice President for External Affairs at Royal Dutch Shell.
- Angelita Gregorio-Medel, Undersecretary for Institutional Development of the Department of Social Welfare and Development of the Government of the Philippines.
- Jeffrey Gutman, Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution.
- Rueben Lifuka, Director of Dialogue Africa and former Board Chairperson of Transparency International Zambia.
- Claire Schouten, Senior Program Officer for International Advocacy at the International Budget Partnership.
- Jeni Tennison, Technical Director at the UK Open Data Institute.
- Maria Margarita Zuleta, General Director of Colombia Compra Eficiente in the Government of Colombia.
The new Executive Director and the Advisory Board of Directors will lead the Partnership as it establishes its new independent governance structures and as it continues to advance more transparent and participatory processes in public contracting, with the objective of fostering economic growth and prosperity for all.
My hope is that by modeling, studying, and disseminating open contracting innovations and spurring a global conversation about such innovations in governance, the Open Contracting Partnership can be a global force for the development of more effective solutions to social challenges. Open Contracting begins with greater transparency about what government spends, for what and on whom which leads to new opportunities for oversight and accountability. But open contracting also opens up opportunities to make contracting more accessible and competitive to more diverse participants and to innovate in the kinds of solutions that government procures to the end of delivering better services and improving people’s lives. It is a great honor to serve.