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Netherlands

Open Contracting (NL0034)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Netherlands Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK)

Support Institution(s): • BZK/DG Bestuur, Ruimte en Wonen/Directie Democratie en Burgerschap/Leer en Expertisepunt Open Overheid (Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations/Directorate-General for Governance, Space and Living/Democracy and Citizenship Department/Learning and Expertise Centre on Open Government) Expertise: open data • EZK/DG Energie, Telecom en Mededinging/Directie Mededinging en Consument (Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy/Directorate-General for Energy, Telecommunications and Competition /Competition and Consumers Department) Coordination of the project plan and intermediary for contact with TenderNed • Open contracting partnership (hereinafter: OCP) Sharing experience with OCDS/exchanging best practices • HIVOS Experience with OCDS/assessing feasibility and data • Open State Foundation (OSF) Introduction into network/providing information about compliance with OCDS • TenderNed/PIANOo Possibly providing information about the use and accessibility of data from TenderNed • OCDS helpdesk Providing support on giving access to data/expert insight

Policy Areas

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

IRM Review

IRM Report: Netherlands Design Report 2018-2020

Starred: Pending IRM Review

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information , Civic Participation , Technology

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review

Description

Action point: Open Contracting (OCDS pilot)
Start and end dates of the action point: 1 July 2018 - 30 June 2020
Main action owner (organisation) Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK)
Description of the action point
Which social issue does the action point seek to address? The international Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) came into existence in 2014. Initially, the first signatories of the standard mainly used it to fight corruption by bringing information about public procurement into the open in a uniform and transparent way as Open Data. Another important reason is that OCDS provides an insight into how the performance of government contracts is monitored.

The Dutch Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations (BZK) sent a letter on 24 June 2015 informing the House of Representatives about how the central government's procurement information is made public and what the government's policy is in this regard. This policy focuses on promoting active openness and reusing open data, including the central government's procurement data.
What is the action point? The action point entails a pilot in which two public procurement procedures, initiated by the central government, are selected and the extent to which the OCDS is, and can be, complied with for these procedures is checked. One of the procurement procedures has already been completed and the other one is still to be started. For the procurement procedure that has already been completed, the extent to which the OCDS has been complied with has been verified. As regards the new procurement procedure, a study is being made of what is needed in order for it to be carried out in accordance with the OCDS. Weighing the costs and benefits of full compliance with the OCDS is part of the pilot.

The pilot serves three goals:
a. To establish how and where the Netherlands complies with the OCDS
b. To indicate any improvements that can still be made by the central government as regards the OCDS.
c. To indicate where the Netherlands is a “Best Practice”.

The pilot offers the opportunity to share knowledge and expertise at an international level.
How will the action point contribute to remedying the social issue? The pilot offers the opportunity to contribute to the primary objective of the Programma Doorontwikkeling Rijksinkoopstelsel (Programme for further development of the national procurement system): “To create added value for society”. The Minister of the Interior and Kingdom Relations indicated that openness of the procurement information of the central government will contribute to better public governance and democratic processes (June 2015). The national procurement system ties in with this government policy by responding to the wish of citizens for more transparency as regards government spending and the desire of companies for procurement information about the government market for their business operations.

This pilot is also a good way to draw attention to the added value for society of the national procurement system which will be an extra incentive to bring about changes together.
Why is this action point relevant to OGP values? The pilot supports the OGP values of transparency and public accountability.

The pilot will lead to transparency. Information about government contracts released in the OCDS will lead to information which is described properly and in sufficient detail, is well suited to being reused as open data, and is easy to compare.

The detailed description of the data and the availability of this data as open data enables the data to be used for visualisations and other forms of insight, enabling public accountability.
Additional information The lead time of the pilot is approximately two years and the project group members are expected to be required to spend a couple of weeks on it. This can be paid “out of pocket”.
Milestone with a verifiable result (please note: SMART) Start date: End date:
Project plan for pilot + decision-making 01 July 2018 01 September 2018
Start of project team and implementation of pilot 01 September 2018 30 June 2020
Interim report on pilot + decision-making 01 March 2019 01 July 2019
Final report with recommendations 01 February 2020 30 April 2020
Decision-making about recommendations 30 April 2020 30 June 2020
Contact information
Name of the responsible person representing the main action owner Peter Specker
Position, organisation unit Ministerie van Binnenlandse Zaken en Koninkrijksrelaties/DGOO / IHFR/Inkoop en Aanbesteden/manager Inkoopinformatie Rijk (Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations/Directorate-General for Public Administration/ Procurement, Housing and Facilities Policy/Procurement/Government Procurement Information Manager)Email and phone number Peter.Specker@minbzk.nl
Other actors involved Authorities involved • BZK/DG Bestuur, Ruimte en Wonen/Directie Democratie en Burgerschap/Leer en Expertisepunt Open Overheid (Dutch Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations/Directorate-General for Governance, Space and Living/Democracy and Citizenship Department/Learning and Expertise Centre on Open Government)
Expertise: open data

• EZK/DG Energie, Telecom en Mededinging/Directie Mededinging en Consument (Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate Policy/Directorate-General for Energy, Telecommunications and Competition /Competition and Consumers Department)
Coordination of the project plan and intermediary for
contact with TenderNed

Other organisations or bodies (such as community organisations or the private sector) • Open contracting partnership (hereinafter: OCP)
Sharing experience with OCDS/exchanging best practices

• HIVOS
Experience with OCDS/assessing feasibility and data

• Open State Foundation (OSF)
Introduction into network/providing information about compliance with OCDS

• TenderNed/PIANOo
Possibly providing information about the use and accessibility of data from TenderNed

• OCDS helpdesk
Providing support on giving access to data/expert insight

IRM Midterm Status Summary

10. Open Contracting (OCDS pilot)

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

The action point entails a pilot in which two public procurement procedures, initiated by the central government, are selected and the extent to which the OCDS is, and can be, complied with for these procedures is checked. One of the procurement procedures has already been completed and the other one is still to be started. For the procurement procedure that has already been completed, the extent to which the OCDS has been complied with has been verified. As regards the new procurement procedure, a study is being made of what is needed in order for it to be carried out in accordance with the OCDS. Weighing the costs and benefits of full compliance with the OCDS is part of the pilot. The pilot serves three goals:

  1. To establish how and where the Netherlands complies with the OCDS
  2. To indicate any improvements that can still be made by the central government as regards the OCDS.
  3. To indicate where the Netherlands is a “Best Practice”.

The pilot offers the opportunity to share knowledge and expertise at an international level. [41]

Milestones

10.1. Project plan for pilot + decisionmaking

10.2. Start of project team and implementation of pilot

10.3. Interim report on pilot +decision-making

10.4 Final report with recommendations

10.5 Decision-making about recommendations


Start Date: July 2018     

End Date: June 2020

Context and Objectives

Government procurement of goods and services is significantly important to global business. The Netherlands are no exception, with an estimated government purchase volume of EUR 73.3 billion annually. [42] Dutch development aid also supports projects geared to open contracting in a variety of countries. [43] An essential feature that underpins many of those initiatives is the adoption of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), a standard currently not used by the Netherlands itself. [44] In 2015, a motion in parliament asked that future government procurements would correctly deal with relevant open standards. [45] In 2017, a study by the Ministry of Interior stated that as far as public contracting was concerned, there was little awareness of such standards within relevant agencies. [46]

This commitment therefore aims to pilot OCDS and explore if the Netherlands can comply with the standard. The work is carried out by the Ministry of Interior in partnership with relevant CSOs (such as Hivos). The commitment is relevant to the OGP values of access to information, civic participation, and technology and innovation for openness and accountability. At the same time, the commitment’s activities and milestones, though specific and verifiable, are not driven by explicit objectives to improve efficiency in purchase management or to resolve specific risks such as corruption or over-pricing.

If successfully completed, the pilot could improve general awareness of the practical usability of OCDS, as well as promote broader use of the standard in the Netherlands. In turn, this is considered conducive for improving access to information on government spending and could leverage broader citizen participation and scrutiny over procurement. It could also support the government’s efforts to mitigate corruption risks and improve cost-efficiency in procurement contracts. However, the objective is quite general, namely indicating where the Netherlands is a best practice in open contracting. In addition, it is unclear what the pilot itself exactly entails, aside from exploring what OCDS means for Dutch procurement, or if it will look at a specific sector or area of government procurement. Furthermore, the commitment explains how topics such as sustainability and social impact are to be integrated but does not explain in detail how this will be operationalized. Finally, it remains unclear how the completion of the pilot could translate into the full adoption of OCDS usage in the Netherlands. As such, the potential impact has been scored as moderate.

Next steps

The IRM researcher recommends the following:

  1. Perform a more detailed needs assessment and draw on existing studies and evaluations in the Netherlands on which areas of public procurement are considered improvable. This would include a risk analysis and concrete priorities for future action. Such a scoping exercise should ideally seek the consultation of private parties (bidding on government contracts successfully and unsuccessfully), civil society, and procurement experts.
  2. Select concrete tenders for specific areas or government functions for inclusion in the pilot. Moreover, clear criteria could be identified in consultation with the parties mentioned above and should seek to clarify whether OCDS compliant systems can help resolve or mitigate the issues identified in the needs assessment.
  3. Given the government’s explicit ambition to use its spending to also influence thematic issues such as sustainability, innovation, and social return, the IRM researcher recommends developing tools and instruments that could help gauge success in this respect. This could be done by providing answers to questions on the weight such themes should carry in designing tenders and evaluating bids, what to do in case of conflicting interests, and what exceptions should apply and why. These deliberations could be beneficial to the broader discussion on how governments source their goods and services, and could feed into discussions at the political level which are needed to drive eventual legislative change.

[41] The complete text of this commitment, https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/Netherlands_Action-Plan_2018-2020_EN.pdf

[42] https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/rapporten/2016/09/08/het-inkoopvolume-van-de-nederlandse-overheid

[43] Hivos people unlimited, Open Up Contracting, https://www.hivos.org/program/open-contracting/

[44] Open Contracting Partnership, Worldwide, https://www.open-contracting.org/why-open-contracting/worldwide/#/nl

[45] https://zoek.officielebekendmakingen.nl/kst-33326-21.html

[46] https://www.rijksoverheid.nl/documenten/rapporten/2017/02/15/rapport-kenniscentrum-open-source-software


Commitments

  1. Local Digital Democracy

    NL0028, 2018, E-Government

  2. Dilemma Logic

    NL0029, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. Join EITI

    NL0030, 2018, Access to Information

  4. Open Algorithms

    NL0031, 2018, Automated Decision-Making

  5. Open Local Decision-Making

    NL0032, 2018, Access to Information

  6. ‘Open by Design’ Pilots

    NL0033, 2018, Access to Information

  7. Open Contracting

    NL0034, 2018, Access to Information

  8. Open Parliament

    NL0035, 2018, Anti-Corruption

  9. Open Government Standard and Dashboard

    NL0036, 2018, Access to Information

  10. Pioneering Network for an Open Government for Municipalities

    NL0037, 2018, Capacity Building

  11. Transparent Political Party Finance

    NL0038, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  12. National Open Data Agenda

    NL0019, 2016, Access to Information

  13. Stuiveling Open Data Award

    NL0020, 2016, Access to Information

  14. Groningen Open Data Re-Use

    NL0021, 2016, Access to Information

  15. Releasing Ministerial Research Reports

    NL0022, 2016, Access to Information

  16. Detailed Open Spending Data

    NL0023, 2016, Access to Information

  17. Open Local Authority Decision-Making

    NL0024, 2016, Access to Information

  18. Training Civil Servants on Public Participation

    NL0025, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Easier Freedom of Information Requests

    NL0026, 2016, Access to Information

  20. Open Government Expertise Centre (LEOO)

    NL0027, 2016, Access to Information

  21. Further Develop and Promote Disclosure and Use of Open Data

    NL0001, 2013, Access to Information

  22. Increase Financial Transparency Through Open Budget and Experiments with Open Spending and Budget Monitoring

    NL0002, 2013, Access to Information

  23. Open House of Representatives

    NL0003, 2013, E-Government

  24. Instruments for Integrity

    NL0004, 2013, Anti-Corruption

  25. Revamp the Legislative Calendar

    NL0005, 2013, Access to Information

  26. More Online Consultation

    NL0006, 2013, E-Government

  27. More Transparency in Decision-Making Through Volgdewet.Nl Legislation-Tracking Website

    NL0007, 2013, Access to Information

  28. Informal Approach to Freedom of Information Requests

    NL0008, 2013, Access to Information

  29. From Rules to Freedom

    NL0009, 2013, Public Participation

  30. Change Attitudes and Procedures Through Smarter Working and ‘Public Servant 2.0’

    NL0010, 2013, Capacity Building

  31. Water Coalition

    NL0011, 2013, Public Participation

  32. Develop and Implement Participation Policy at the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment

    NL0012, 2013, Public Participation

  33. Make Government Information Accessible and Easy to Find

    NL0013, 2013, Capacity Building

  34. Make Citizens Better Informed and More Empowered: Public Inspection and Correction of Information

    NL0014, 2013, E-Government

  35. Open Announcements and Notifications

    NL0015, 2013, E-Government

  36. Public Services and the User Perspective

    NL0016, 2013, E-Government

  37. Designate Categories of Government Information for Active Access

    NL0017, 2013, Access to Information

  38. Rethink Information Management and Active Access: Four ‘Open by Design’ Pilot Projects

    NL0018, 2013, Access to Information

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