Pilot project aims to make companies come clean over public contracts
The Czech Republic has been selected for a corruption fighting pilot project which could have a major impact if it eventually expands to cover the massive public sector tenders market.
The specific Czech project covers the operation of a so-called integrity pact under which the company winning a public tender or contract automatically allows in independent checkers to supervise how the work is being fulfilled. Basically, the contract winner must agree to open up all its books to make sure there is no corruption or sharp practice involved.
But it’s perhaps not a coincidence that information contracts for the government and its many agencies have been one of the most problematic areas for Czech public tenders over the last decade with countless stories of rigged contracts, overspending, and technology that in the last instance often fails to fulfill the tasks initially demanded of it. Transparency International’s Ivana Dufková explained how the integrity pact should work out for the IT tender winner expected to be selected within a few weeks.
“They will have to open the whole process of implementation of public procurement. It means that they will have to provide access to the documents and reports and all the processes that are connected.”
And while this is a fairly modest beginning, there are hopes that integrity pacts will have a much wider role in the Czech Republic in the future and a visible impact on cutting the final cost of many major infrastructure projects.
Public contracts represent around 17 percent of total Czech national spending, one of the highest proportions in Europe, so wider use of integrity pacts would have an impact. Whether there is enough cost-effective know-how and expertise to allow a wider roll-out is a question that still must be answered.