Why Institutions Should Embrace Proactive Disclosure of Procurement Records

Sep 21 2015

Access rights rely on both the public’s right to request government-held information and the government’s commitment to making information freely available. Proactive disclosure is the release of information in anticipation of the public’s needs and interests and is a key Open Government practice. Citizens are interested in how governments spend public funds, making access to records related to procurement especially important.

For nearly a decade, we have called for greater transparency through the proactive disclosure of procurement records. We believe it will strengthen clarity and accountability around government spending. It can also provide tangible benefits to institutions by reducing the number of procurement-related freedom of information requests, appeals and associated costs.

To make procurement processes transparent, institutions should disclose how contracts are awarded, what has been contracted for, how they chose the successful bidders, the various costs of the contract and who is responsible for the decisions related to the contract. Making this information available clarifies government decision-making around procurement and empowers individuals to engage with the process.

Our new guidance document Open Contracting: Proactive Disclosure of Procurement Records details the benefits of proactive disclosure and offers tips on designing and implementing a transparent procurement process, while still protecting confidentiality where appropriate.

We encourage every organization covered by FIPPA or MFIPPA to commit to the proactive disclosure of procurement records and join others who have taken the first steps to adopt it.