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Georgia

Public Procurement Improvements (GE0078)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Georgia Action Plan 2018-2019

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: LEPL – Public Procurement Agency (PPA)

Support Institution(s): NA

Policy Areas

Access to Information, Anti-Corruption, E-Government, Open Contracting and Public Procurement, Open Data, Public Procurement

IRM Review

IRM Report: Georgia Transitional Results Report 2018-2019, Georgia Design Report 2018-2019

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: No IRM Data

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Commitment 13: Electronic innovations for more transparency and efficiency of public procurement

The Public Procurement Agency (PPA), with the support of the World Bank (WB) and the Department of International Development (DFID), also in cooperation with the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) actively works on the introduction of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS). It should be noted that the OCDS implies introduction of an open data standard for publication of structured information on all stages of a contracting process: from planning to implementation.

OCDS sets out 4 levels for disclosure (3 main and 1 additional: 1) basic; 2) intermediate; 3) advanced; and 4) additional. The PPA intends to meet the standards of the 3rd and 4th levels in accordance with OCDS.

Currently, the works of the Stage 1 have been completed to ensure the OCDS introduction, which implies regular disclosure of the available information about both the aggregated and individual purchases in the special machine readable format (JSON) on a specially made new web-page.

At the Stage 2, the PPA plans further extension of the OCDS, which implies disclosure annual purchase plan of purchasing organizations in a special machine readable format, also the creation for the authorized users for direct access to the direct database the application of program interface (API) and creation of web-page of new visualization.

Commitment 13: Electronic innovations for more transparency and efficiency of public procurement
Lead Agency LEPL – Public Procurement Agency (PPA)
Other Involved Actors Public Agency
Civil Society / Private Sector /International organization
Issues to be Addressed Public procurement information is open to any stakeholder. Information is posted in a unified electronic system of public procurement, although it should be mentioned that the collection of necessary data is not automated and requires significant human resource and new data processing tools.
Main Objective Further development of the level of transparency and free and simplified access to information. This information will be usable by all economic operators, also for the civil society concerned. This will simplify planning of business and the public finances monitoring process.

OGP Principles Transparency Accountability Civil Participation Technology and Innovation
   

Milestones to Fulfill the Commitment New or ongoing commitment Start date End date
Transfer of the current year information available in the module of public procurement electronic annual plans built in the e-procurement system and disclosure on the web-page - opendata.spa.ge Ongoing December 2018
January 2019

Creation of a web-page of new visualization on the database generated by OCDS (the new web-page will assist users in retrieving desired information in any correlation) Ongoing March 2018 December 2018
Creation of an API for accessing OCDS-based database Ongoing July 2018 December 2018
Ensuring rather detailed (minimum of the second level) instructions of the CPV codes in electronic tenders of the E-Procurement system. Ongoing May 2018 December 2018
OCDS-based database update; complete coverage of historical data created since 2011 and systemic update of current data. Ongoing January 2018 December 2019
(ongoing regularly)
Indicator The new web-page of e-tenders data visualization and the application of program interface (API) have been developed. The data are published/disclosed in accordance with OCDS – the Public Procurement Agency completely meets Level 3 of the OCDS.

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Commitment 13: Electronic Innovations for More Transparency and Efficiency of Public Procurement

Language of the commitment as it appears in the action plan:

“The Public Procurement Agency (PPA), with the support of the World Bank (WB) and the Department of International Development (DFID), also in cooperation with the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP) actively works on the introduction of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS). It should be noted that the OCDS implies introduction of an open data standard for publication of structured information on all stages of a contracting process: from planning to implementation.

OCDS sets out 4 levels for disclosure (3 main and 1 additional: 1) basic; 2) intermediate; 3) advanced; and 4) additional. The PPA intends to meet the standards of the 3rd and 4th levels in accordance with OCDS.

Currently, the works of the Stage 1 have been completed to ensure the OCDS introduction, which implies regular disclosure of the available information about both the aggregate and individual purchases in the special machine-readable format (JSON) on a specially made new webpage.

At the Stage 2, the PPA plans further extension of the OCDS, which implies disclosure annual purchase plan of purchasing organizations in a special machine readable format, also the creation for the authorized users for direct access to the direct database the application program interface (API) and creation of web-page of new visualization”

Milestones: 

  1. Transfer of the current year information available in the module of public procurement electronic annual plans built in the e-procurement system and disclosure on the web-page - opendata.spa.ge 
  2. Creation of a web-page of new visualization on the database generated by OCDS (the new web-page will assist users in retrieving desired information in any correlation
  3. Creation of an API for accessing OCDS-based database
  4. Ensuring rather detailed (minimum of the second level) instructions of the CPV codes in electronic tenders of the E-Procurement system. 
  5. OCDS-based database update; complete coverage of historical data created since 2011 and systemic update of current data

Start Date: December 2018

End Date: December 2019

Editorial note: For the full text of this commitment, please see https://www.opengovpartnership.org/documents/georgia-action-plan-2018-2019/.

Context and Objectives

This commitment continues the goals of Commitment 15 from Georgia’s third action plan (2016–2017). During the third action plan, the State Procurement Agency (SPA) launched the http://www.opendata.spa.ge portal, where it published aggregated and detailed data on tenders in an open data format. This portal was designed to better comply with open contracting requirements and make tender data more easily accessible to the public.

With the fourth action plan’s commitment, the SPA plans to integrate the e-Plan modules and annual procurement plans of procuring entities into the opendata.spa.ge portal and publish this information in an open data format. It also aims to publish more details on the tenders, add more filters for deeper analysis, and provide complete historical data (from 2011 to the present). Finally, the SPA plans to provide an application programming interface (API) to registered users of its opendata.spa.ge portal and redesign the portal to align it better with the Open Contracting Data Standard. [68]

This commitment responds to civil society critiques of the new database that surfaced during the previous action plan. They noted insufficient filters to allow for deeper analysis of the content and the lack of an API for interested organizations to link their portals to the new SPA webpage. Several stakeholders also called for transferring and publishing procurement data in a machine-readable and open data format to enable users to disaggregate data by different variables. [69] [70] The goal of improving the availability and usability of procurement data makes the commitment relevant to the OGP value of access to information. This commitment is specific enough to be verified. It provides measurable milestones and outputs that are aligned with the commitment’s objective.

As one more step taken toward opening procurement data to the public, this commitment can be considered a progressive and incremental improvement to the well-functioning system. The full implementation of this commitment could help improve the accessibility and transparency of procurement information. It could also improve the ability of the public and civil society organizations to monitor government spending. [71] In particular, procurement information could become more accessible for the public—regular citizens—and not only for the organizations and experts who have relevant expertise. [72]

However, an interviewed Transparency International–Georgia representative pointed out that although publishing data in a machine-readable format is a step forward, there are many important issues that this commitment does not address. For example, the annual procurement plan is currently not detailed enough to provide specific information of interest, such as detailed CPV codes. More importantly, annual plans change often and thus make the business process unpredictable for interested parties. [73]

Next steps

Moving forward, the IRM researcher recommends that the State Procurement Agency (SPA) continue publishing more detailed information to the http://www.opendata.spa.ge platform. For example, the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI) has recently recommended that SPA publish detailed CPV codes of the specific goods or services procured. [74] The IRM researcher also reiterates another IDFI recommendation to amend Georgia’s public procurement legislation to include publishing information on subcontractors. This would help close loopholes in the existing information and prevent blacklisted companies from participating in procurement.

[68] Open Contracting Partnership, Guide to Defining Open Contracting Data Standard Functional Requirements for Electronic Government Procurement Systems, 2018, https://bit.ly/32iny8C.

[69] Open Government Partnership, IRM: Georgia Progress Report 2016–2017, https://bit.ly/2XKZWpP.

[70] Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, Implementation Assessment of the Georgian Public Procurement Legislation, 2017, https://bit.ly/2GdAjI6.

[71] Saba Buadze, former Anti-Corruption Direction Lead, Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, interview with IRM researcher, 22 May 2019.

[72] IRM researcher’s focus group discussion with experts, researchers, and master’s students of public administration, 18 June 2018.

[73] Giorgi Topuria, Senior Analyst at Transparency International–Georgia, interview with IRM researcher, 22 May 2019.

[74] IDFI, “Implementation Assessment of the Georgian Public Procurement Legislation,” 15 May 2017, https://bit.ly/2Q8mgZg

IRM End of Term Status Summary

13. Electronic innovations for more transparency and efficiency of public procurement

Theme III: More Effectively Managing Public Resources

Limited

The State Procurement Agency (SPA) developed and integrated the electronic procurement data and annual procurement plans into the opendata.spa.ge portal and made the data in these modules available in open data format. After an initial delay, SPA launched the application programming interface (API) in June 2019 at odapi.spa.ge. However, the information published on both new modules and the API website only covered historical data to the first quarter of 2019 at the end of the action plan period (December 2019). [51] Although the systems now aligns with the Open Contracting Data Standard, SPA experienced technical challenges in publishing detailed Common Procurement Vocabulary (CPV) codes that would allow for better filtering and deeper analysis. [52] SPA continued to collaborate with the Ministry of Finance and other counterparts to resolve these issues. [53]

At the end of the implementation period (December 2019), the lack of historical data, detailed CPV codes, and filtering remain major complaints among civil society stakeholders [54] who have assessed the opendata.spa.ge platform as not reliable and of little practical use. [55]

[51] Since the end of the implementation period, SPA has published historical data from 2011 to the first quarter of 2019.
[52] According to SPA, the provision of detailed CPV codes is a responsibility of the Contracting Authorities and is possible in the e-Procurement system. (Information provided to the IRM by SPA during the pre-publication review of this report, 7 May 2021.
[53] Open Government Georgia, Georgia Status Report on Implementation of the action plan for 2018-2019, https://ogpgeorgia.gov.ge/en/monitoring-and-evaluation/
[54] Giorgi Topuria, Senior Analyst at Transparency International- Georgia, interview with IRM researcher, 26 November 2020.
[55] Davit Maisuradze, Open Governance Direction Head at Institute for Development of Freedom of Information, interview with IRM researcher, 30 November 2020.

Commitments

Open Government Partnership