The Transparent Public Procurement Rating is implemented by the Georgian Institute for Development of Freedom of Information with partner organizations. It assesses the public procurement law and transparency of procedures. First, the rating covered only the Eurasian area, but now it assesses 39 countries of the world.
The research is based by the EBRD methodology and standard, WTO standard, OECD methodology and principles, EU standard (Directive 2014/24/EU), Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS). Public procurement is assessed based on 64 indicators and at various stages, for instance:
- In the preparation period, they verify availability of information on future procurement, preparation for them, state interference in the competition on the market.
- At the tender stage, all steps are assessed from tender announcement to award publication, including potential contesting. Analysts verify the whether the tender documentation is complete, whether information is available on any changes, participants’ bids and the award.
- At the final stage, they assess the access to concluded agreements and whether the data is in the machine readable format.
According to these indicators, Ukraine has scored 97.05 out of 100 points and has won by a landslide. The runners-up are Moldova (92.81 points) and Colombia (91.77 points). Tajikistan is last with a score of 37.88 points.
What happens next?
Of course, the score in the rating is an important and pleasant achievement, but it is not a reason to sit down and chill. We still have some issues and challenges we need to work on.
First, Ukraine needs to continue the digitalization of public procurement. Our future is impossible without electronic document management, so we need to work on improving this process now.
Secondly, rules for fair procurement will mean nothing if there are no sanctions for failing to comply with them. Unfortunately, the control currently exercised by the State Audit Service is not enough. According to the most recent TI study, the auditors check only 0.2% of public tenders. The violations are almost always found, but we cannot be sure how many evade the public agency’s attention. In addition, there is a major problem with bringing the guilty to liability. Over half the violations by procuring entities are not fixed (or only fixed partly). Fines based on administrative violations were imposed only in 43 cases in 2019.
Finally, we definitely should not restrict competition and give preferences to certain manufacturers. If MPs support draft law 3739 in the next reading, they will completely roll back the public procurement reform in Ukraine. Not only the expert community warns about the dangers of localization, but even the Cabinet itself.
The bottom line is, we keep fighting. Ukraine needs to optimize the work of the State Audit Service, establish specific criteria to assess the performance of public procurement, improve the electronic document management and, most importantly, stop this new attempt to ruin Prozorro. Let’s keep on fighting!