HSE University Anti-Corruption Portal
The World Bank Launches a Prototype Platform to Counter Corruption in Public Procurement

The World Bank has launched a prototype of a platform to counter corruption and ensure transparency in public procurement (Procurement Anticorruption and Transparency Platform – ProACT)*.

The goal of ProACT is to identify the presence of possible integrity risks associated with contracts, buyers, suppliers and markets. To assess the risks, the developers of the platform suggest using 19 indicators: nine transparency indicators which measure the availability of key types of information as open data in the public procurement system, and ten integrity indicators that are indirect measures of potential issues arising from governance failure, favoritism, or corruption in public procurement.

The transparency indicators imply the accessibility of the following information:

  • procurement procedure type;
  • names of goods, works and services procured;
  • terms of payment for the goods, works and services;
  • number of bids;
  • supplier name;
  • buyer name;
  • contract value;
  • supply type;
  • implementation location.

The integrity indicators, in turn, include information about:

  • publication of the call for tenders;
  • use of non-open procedure types;
  • time between tender advertisement and the submission deadline;
  • time between submission deadline and contract award decision date;
  • price manipulation following Benford’s law**;
  • single bidder contract;
  • supplier’s registration in a tax haven;
  • supplier’s contract share of buyer spending on public procurement;
  • delivery delay;
  • cost overrun.

Moreover, ProACT can be employed in the analysis of information on specific procurements both nation-wide and at the level of procuring agencies. To this end, the tool provides access to open data from national electronic procurement systems from 46 countries and to open data on World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank financed contracts for over 100 countries for the period between 2006 and 2020 (some of the sources go back in time until 1961, while selected data sources were updated until early 2021). The respective consolidated data contain information about the stages and content of the procurement procedure (such as procedure type, length of procurement procedure, and award decision date), different characteristics of corporate participants (for instance, name, address and main activity), bid winners, goods, works and services procured (price, description).

As a pilot project, the platform also provides information about debarment decisions in the area of public procurement: at present, ProACT contains decisions from ten sanctioning authorities, including the European Commission, the World Bank, and national comptrollers of Bangladesh, Indonesia and Mexico, taken in 2017.

The goal of the ProACT developers is to refine the prototype and create a tool that is updated on a regular basis to enable the monitoring of public procurement data, and to include additional countries as these implement electronic procurement systems with sufficiently detailed open data. The addition of other types of data is also being explored.

The target audiences of the tool are supposed to be numerous and include public procurement officials, civil society, policy analysts and international organisations.

A practical example of how to use the ProACT capacities can be explored here.

*ProACT was developed by the World Bank in partnership with the Government Transparency Institute and the Centre for the Study of Corruption at the University of Sussex. The methodology for the platform is based in part on the methodology developed for the Opentender project and the Global Integrity Anticorruption Evidence programme. It also benefits from data collected under these projects.

**Benford’s law (the first-digit law) is an observation that states that the first digit in real-life sets of numerical data is likely to be the “smallest” (i.e. digits starting with 1 are more common than those starting with 2, whereas the latter are more common than those starting with 3 etc.). If there is a deviation from this law in public procurement, it is highly likely that there are infringements. 

Corruption in public procurement

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