Standard launched to ensure transparency and efficiency in contracting

The world’s first Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) was launched in Costa Rica today (November 18th, 2014) and is set to transform the way governments publish contracting data. The OCDS is a product of the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP), developed by the World Wide Web Foundation through a project supported by the Omidyar Network and the World Bank. It will shine a light on how trillions of dollars of public money are spent, helping to fight corruption, improve service delivery and enhance market efficiency.

Governments around the world spend 9.5 trillion USD each year in contracting but until now, the data has largely been inaccessible.

The OCDS gives governments a common format and set of practical tools which will allow them to consistently publish contracting data openly. The OCDS will ensure contracting is transparent and efficient, allowing businesses to compete effectively creating business growth and maximising public engagement.

Jeni Tennison, Technical Director of the UK Open Data Institute and OCP Advisory Board member said:

“Publishing open contracting data does not just help increase transparency and accountability, but also provides a vital source of information that can be incorporated into decision making by governments and businesses.”

Ian Makgill, Managing Director of ODI startup Spend Network, a UK company that analyses government data to inform businesses and governments alike, said:

“The creation of the Open Contracting standard is a vital development for open procurement data across the world, the standard will allow firms like ours to confidently process and interpret procurement data from all over the globe. We are working to adopt the standard in all our work, and look forward to being able to publish a set of UK contract data in the new year.”

Chris Taggart, CEO of Open Corporates, a UK company that provides open data about 84m companies worldwide, and a graduate of the ODI startup programme, said:

“The Open Contracting Standard may sound like an esoteric and irrelevant government project but by making procurement information as standardized open data it has the potential to help fight corruption, improve government services, fostering innovation, as well as making it much easier for citizens to see where their money goes."

As part of the announcement the Open Contracting Partnership are inviting governments to access the Standard and adopt the tools to ensure contracting is transparent and efficient, and citizens and NGOs are urged to monitor and analyse published data.