Pre-revolution, Ukraine was known for having one of the most corrupt public procurement systems in the world. In response, Transparency International Ukraine, in collaboration with the Open Contracting Partnership and support of the EBRD developed DoZorro, a non-governmental platform that executes control over compliance with procurement rules, identifying and reporting violations by stakeholders, starting from the moment of tender announcement up to the contracting stage, ensuring the integrity and fairness of tenders.
The goal is to ensure that government contracting, worth billions of dollars a year, is transparent, documented, and in consultation with the public.
TI Ukraine and OCP joined us at a Labstorm at the 2018 Feedback Summit to demonstrate how the platform works, share results, and discuss how to improve the platform to eventually replicate results in different countries. The ultimate question: how to create and distribute the tools citizens need to stop corruption? Labstorm participants suggested:
- Ask users the right question. Assessing impact is difficult, and knowing whether the impact indicator you have selected is correct and appropriate is a tough, but critical task. By asking users (in this case buyers, activists, and watchdog organizations) how much their trust in the system has been improved by the platform, you measure trust in the procurement system. Rather than focusing on money saved (since financial figures can often be inaccurate in corrupt government) so a simple measure of public trust may be the best proxy for progress. Asking “On a 0 to 10 scale, how much does Dozorro improve your trust in the system?” would give a clear signal that can improve over time.
- Build political willingness within governments. A common challenge voiced by participants was how to close the feedback loop at the governmental level when complaints arise. The goal of platforms like DoZorro is to make it easier to close the loop- but getting governmental institutions engaged in the process is a shared challenge across countries and organizations without a clear solution.
- There is no one-size-fits-all solution to transparency in contracting. Different regulatory frameworks between and within countries are a hurdle in making a universal tool that will work. At the moment, DoZorro is customized for Ukrainian law and is most applicable in that country context, so it will need a concerted customization effort in order to be expanded. However, it can serve as a framework for iterations more suited for individual country contexts.
Do you have experience in establishing incentives that encourage transparency and feedback? We’d love to hear from you! Email [email protected] or comment below to share your thoughts.