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New Zealand

Open Procurement (NZ0023)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: New Zealand Action Plan 2018-2020

Action Plan Cycle: 2018

Status: Active

Institutions

Lead Institution: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment

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: New Zealand 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

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Commitment 12: Open procurement
Objective:
To publish the data on government-awarded contracts that is currently
publicly available on the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS) as
open data.
Ambition:
It will be easy for people to find and access published GETS information
for contracts awarded by government agencies that are subject to the
Government Rules of Sourcing. This will increase the level of trust the
public has in procurement as it will be possible to analyse what contracts
government agencies are awarding, what the expected spend is and which
businesses have been awarded contracts.
Status quo:
Currently after awarding a contract, government agencies must publish
a Contract Award Notice10 on GETS. This notice details information
about the successful tenderer and the expected spend under the contract.
Anyone can view these award notices, however it is difficult to collate the
data from them due to the format in which they are displayed. Lead Agency: Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment
Timeline: October 2018 – June 2020
Commitment 12 Open procurement
OGP Values Transparency,
Accountability, Technology
and Innovation
Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil
the commitment
Start date End date
Design with Stats NZ and the public a more usable
format for this data.
October
2018
June 2019
Publish the results of the first milestone, for
example information on what format the data will
be released in and if we need to publish supporting
material to help people interpret the data.
July 2019 December
2019
Publish the Contract Award notices online in the
agreed usable format.
June 2020 On-going

IRM Midterm Status Summary

12. Open procurement [136]

Objective: “To publish the data on government-awarded contracts that is currently publicly available on the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS) as open data”.

Milestones:

  1. “Design with Stats NZ and the public a more usable format for this data”;
  2. “Publish the results of the first milestone, for example information on what format the data will be released in and if we need to publish supporting material to help people interpret the data”;
  3. “Publish the Contract Award notices online in the agreed usable format”.

Start Date: October 2018

End Date: June 2020

Context and Objectives

The objective of this commitment is to publish as open data government-awarded contracts data currently available on the Government Electronic Tenders Service (GETS). [137]

This commitment considers the issue of transparency of New Zealand’s public procurement. Transparency International New Zealand’s National Integrity System Assessment 2013 noted “serious shortcomings in transparency because, in a highly decentralised system by international standards, systematic procurement records are not readily available within departments and agencies” [138] and endorsed this in its update in 2019. [139] The 2016-2018 IRM Progress report recommended increased transparency of public procurement. [140] The Open Contracting Data Standard has had wide uptake outside of New Zealand, [141] Asia Pacific OGP countries are committing to open up public contracting and procurement processes, [142] and Australia’s 2nd OGP National Action Plan commits to using the Open Contracting Data Standard schema to publish an additional AusTender dataset on data.gov.au. [143]

This proposal is a first step towards open procurement by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), but it is confined to contracts awarded using the GETS Service and already listed online but not as open data. Its ambition statement is narrow – it seeks increased trust in procurement and better access to information but does not articulate higher-level outcomes, for example, the potential economic benefits to New Zealand that public notification of contracts brings. This work does not extend to government’s numerous other procurement processes such as self-sourcing by agencies, the panel procurement process and agencies procuring more work directly from incumbent vendors. The IRM researcher was advised that publicly disclosed procurement seems to account for only about a quarter of the total value. [144]

The commitment meets OGP’s access to information and civic participation values by proactively releasing government information and seeking input from interested members of the public. It will co-design and publish with government and the public an open format for the contract awards data listed on GETS, seek feedback and agreement on that format and publish the contract award notices in the agreed open data format.

The milestones are specific enough to be verified through a subsequent assessment process, but the commitment’s scope is too narrow to deliver on its title of ‘Open Procurement’. The IRM researcher notes also that GETS’ current online notices, which list the name of the successful contractor but no other details, such as price, do not meet the requirements of Rule 45 of the current Government Rules of Sourcing. [145] Access to full details currently requires registration on the GETS website, which stands in comparison with the level of detail about the New Zealand government’s social service contracts set out on the view-only website contractmapping.govt.nz. [146] While a good start, this commitment has little of the ambition sought by the National Integrity System Assessment and NZRise [147] and illustrated by those countries taking up the Open Contracting Standard.

To meet the commitment’s ambition as stated, all listings must include the details specified in Rule 45 of the current Government Rules of Sourcing and its replacement Government Procurement Rules, [148] agencies need to be mandated to list all their awarded tenders as open data and the public must be able to access the open contract data without needing to join GETS. If implemented fully as designed, the potential impact will be minor because only a very small percentage of government tenders awarded will be published as open data on GETS. Extending it to all government tenders could be transformative though the country’s de-centralised procurement system could complicate the feasibility of publishing all government contracts in open data.

Next steps

If this commitment is carried forward to the next action plan or if there are improvements to the implementation of this commitment, the IRM researcher recommends that:

  • MBIE considers this commitment as a pilot and if feasible commences works with the public and government agencies to extend it to cover all awarded government contracts; and
  • MBIE considers publishing historical contract data that can allow users to analyse patterns of procurement, as well as incorporating protocols to guide how documentation from tenders is archived once the contract is awarded. This will support monitoring and accountability regarding the outcomes of the procurement process.

The IRM researcher recommends that consideration of a commitment is fed into the development process for the next action plan to work with business, the public and government agencies to:

  • release all awarded government contracts as open data;
  • adopt the Open Contracting Data Standard; and
  • update the Government Procurement Rules accordingly.
[139] Transparency International New Zealand. NZ National Integrity System Assessment 2018 update. Section 4.3.2. https://www.transparency.org.nz/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/National-Integrity-System-Assessment-2018-update-full-report.pdf
[142] Discussions at the OGP Asia Pacific Regional meeting, Seoul, 5-6 November 2018, https://www.open-contracting.org/2018/11/26/asia-rising-the-next-frontier-for-open-contracting/
[144] Advice from Transparency International New Zealand to IRM researcher, 24 February 2019.
[145] Rule 45, https://www.procurement.govt.nz/procurement/principles-and-rules/government-rules-of-sourcing/awarding-the-contract/contract-award-notice/ Note that this Rule will be replaced by Rule 48 of the Government Procurement Rules on 1 October 2019.
[146] http://www.contractmapping.govt.nz/. Note that at 22 August 2019 this site is “currently unavailable while maintenance is being carried out. Updated figures will be available in the near future”.
[147] NZRise represents the Kiwi-owned and operated IT companies, https://nzrise.org.nz/about-us/
[148] Government Procurement Rules. 4th edition, to come into effect on 1 October 2019. https://www.procurement.govt.nz/procurement/principles-and-rules/government-procurement-rules/

Commitments

  1. Engagement with Parliament

    NZ0012, 2018, Capacity Building

  2. Youth Parliament

    NZ0013, 2018, Capacity Building

  3. School Leavers' Toolkit

    NZ0014, 2018, Capacity Building

  4. Making New Zealand’S Secondary Legislation Readily Accessible

    NZ0015, 2018, E-Government

  5. Public Participation in Policy Development

    NZ0016, 2018, Capacity Building

  6. Service Design

    NZ0017, 2018, Capacity Building

  7. Official Information

    NZ0018, 2018, Access to Information

  8. Review of Government Use of Algorithms

    NZ0019, 2018, Automated Decision-Making

  9. Data Practice Transparency

    NZ0020, 2018, Capacity Building

  10. Monitoring Information Management Practice

    NZ0021, 2018, Legislation & Regulation

  11. Open Data Government Organizations

    NZ0022, 2018, Access to Information

  12. Open Procurement

    NZ0023, 2018, Access to Information

  13. Open Budget

    NZ0005, 2016, Access to Information

  14. Improving Official Information Practices

    NZ0006, 2016, Access to Information

  15. Improving Open Data Access and Principles

    NZ0007, 2016, Access to Information

  16. Tracking Progress and Outcomes of Open Government Data Release

    NZ0008, 2016, Access to Information

  17. Ongoing Engagement for OGP

    NZ0009, 2016, Capacity Building

  18. Starred commitment Improving Access to Legislation

    NZ0010, 2016, Capacity Building

  19. Improving Policy Practices

    NZ0011, 2016, Capacity Building

  20. BPS Result 10 – New Zealanders Can Complete Their Transactions with the Government Easily in a Digital Environment

    NZ0001, 2014, E-Government

  21. ICT Strategy Action 13 – Open by Default: Active Re-use of Information Assets

    NZ0002, 2014, Access to Information

  22. National Integrity System Assessment

    NZ0003, 2014, Anti-Corruption

  23. The Kia TūTahi Relationship Accord

    NZ0004, 2014, Capacity Building

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