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Serbia

Transparent Public Procurement Procedures (RS0003)

Overview

At-a-Glance

Action Plan: Serbia First Action Plan 2014-2015

Action Plan Cycle: 2014

Status: Inactive

Institutions

Lead Institution: Public Procurement Office

Support Institution(s): Human Resource Management Office, Civil Society Organizations, Ministry of Trade, Tourism, and Telecommunications, and Administration for Joint Services of the Republic Bodies

Policy Areas

Open Contracting and Procurement

IRM Review

IRM Report: Serbia End-of-Term Report 2014-2016

Starred: No

Early Results: Major Major

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Access to Information Civic Participation

Potential Impact:

Implementation i

Completion:

Description

Public procurement system is regulated by the new Public Procurement Law which complies with EU regulations and represents significant contribution to the prevention of corruption. Public procurement is one of the most risky areas when it comes to corruption, and in relation to transparency of these procedures and the current functioning of the Public Procurement Portal, it was noticed that communication with customers, and particularly with bidders i.e. commercial entities, should be additionaly improved.

IRM End of Term Status Summary

Commitment 3. Transparent public procurement procedures

Commitment Text:

            1. Improving the Public Procurement Portal by introducing new features: ability to publish purchasers' procurement plans, publishing procurements carried out according to international procedures, the English version of the ePortal, improvement of searching Decisions made by Republic Commission for the Protection of Rights in Public Procurement Procedures, set up of the registry of public contracts, establishment of the reporting system to Public Procurement Office

                a. Improved Public Procurement Portal by establishing all mentioned functions

                b. Improving call center to provide technical assistance to users of the Public
Procurement Portal

                c. Training for e-portal users (2 trainings per year)

            2. Improving the system for electronic public procurement

                a. Analysis of the existing legal and institutional frameworks for the implementation
of e-procurement in the RS (e-tenders, e-auctions, e-dynamical system of
procurement, e-catalogs ...)

                b. Analysis of technical solutions and options that are in use or under development in
the EU Member States in the field of e-procurement (e-tender, e-auctions, e- dynamical system of procurement, e-catalogs ...)

Responsible Institution(s): Public Procurement Office

Supporting Institution(s): Human Resource Management Office; CSOs; Ministry of Trade, Tourism, and Telecommunications; and Administration for Joint Services of the Republic Bodies (for Activity 2)

Start Date: Not specified                                             End Date: Ongoing

 

 

Commitment aim:

This commitment aims to improve the Public Procurement Portal and the system for electronic procurement. Transparent public procurement procedures better inform bidders and the general public, enable civil society monitoring, and limit the scope of corruption in the procurement processes. This OGP commitment complements Serbia’s efforts to improve its procurement procedures by aligning them with the legal framework of the European Union. The commitment also enhances the transparency and efficacy of these procedures by implementing the Strategy of Development of Public Procurement for 2014-2017.

Status

Midterm: Substantial

During the first year of implementation of the action plan, the public procurement portal was improved in accordance with the Law on Public Procurement and the Law on Amendments to the Law on Public Procurement. Various trainings and workshops were conducted for users. However, the IRM researchers consider that objective to improve call centers that provide technical assistance to Public Procurement Portal users lacked sufficient clarity to provide an objective assessment of the level of implementation. Regarding the improvement of the system for electronic public procurement, while the government’s self-assessment report indicated that the two analyses were conducted, the analyses were not made available online. For more information on the status of this commitment at the midterm level, see the Serbia’s 2014-2015 IRM progress report.

End of term: Complete

The public procurement portal was improved, not only in accordance with the legal obligations, as stipulated in the commitment, but also through the provision of open data on the portal. With regards to improving the system for electronic public procurement, the government produced and published online the two analyses: one on the existing legal and institutional frameworks for the implementation of e-procurement[Note 11: Republic of Serbia, “Analysis of the Existing Legal and Institutional Frameworks for the Implementation of E-Procurement in the Republic of Serbia,” Public Procurement Office, September 2015, http://bit.ly/2g7i47U] and the other on technical solutions and options utilized in the EU member states in the field of e-procurement.[Note 12: Republic of Serbia, “Analysis on the Technical Solutions and Options Utilized in the EU Member States in the Field of E-Procurement,” Public Procurement Office, September 2015, http://bit.ly/2gye0mk] Both are available on the Public Procurement Office website.

Did it open government?

Access to information: Major

Civic participation: Did not change

This commitment represents a relevant step in Serbia’s efforts to establish an efficient e-procurement system. Transferring public procurement processes online and providing trainings for users has made these processes less bureaucratic and less discriminatory by enabling a wider array of contractors to access the bidding process. Additionally, it has made procurement processes more transparent and allowed CSOs to monitor government procurement better. Interviews the IRM researchers conducted with members of CSOs identified that the increase in information available on public procurement was welcomed. They also outlined the need for more information to be readily accessible, in particular the size of contracts. In relation to the activities envisaged in the second milestone, the IRM researchers considered that the two analyses produced through the improvement of the system for electronic public procurement could gain significance in the future by helping the government make procurement more transparent and allowing monitoring and evaluation. However, currently it is not possible to assess this objectively. While the analyses were conducted and are available online, their effect on open government in Serbia can be seen only in the long term.

In terms of access to information, data received from the government indicated that the traffic on the portal increased by approximately 34 percent from the end of 2014 to June 2016. The Public Procurement Office received the following information: (a) website traffic at the end of 2014 amounted to 483,241; (b) website traffic at the end of 2015 amounted to 592,383; and, (c) website traffic by the end of June 2016 amounted to 648,496. Furthermore, the procurement portal was improved through the addition of new features.[Note 13: Screenshot Comparisons of the New and Old Portal, https://flic.kr/s/aHskDN1vN2] While there could be more enhancements to the English version of the website and it could include more information in open data, the current portal has made significant improvements. For more information regarding the timeline of this process, see the 2014-2015 Serbian IRM midterm report. The improved version allows access to procurement data in open data format, which is a major change in government openness.

However, a change in government practice toward civic participation has not occurred with this commitment. The higher level of transparency of the system of public procurement should enable more civic and public participation. Yet, more information regarding larger contracts in particular needs to be included in the portal. The open data version does not include the value of contracts, which significantly affects the usefulness of open data for civil society, academics, policy researchers, and private stakeholders. As civil society representatives interviewed by the IRM researchers pointed out, this not only would increase transparency, but also would enable CSOs to identify “red flags” in procurement. Nevertheless, this is a result of an increase in openness in access to information. The government has not implemented new or improved practices to promote or to engage public stakeholders to use this data. 

Carried forward?

The commitment was completed and no related commitments with regards to the Public Procurement Portal are included in the 2016-2018 action plan.


Serbia's Commitments

  1. Develop a model of job description or part of job description of an officer responsible for cooperation with civil society in local administration

    RS0014, 2016, Capacity Building

  2. Organise trainings for public administration officers in connection with the application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations

    RS0015, 2016, Capacity Building

  3. Organise trainings for CSO in connection with application of the Guidelines on Inclusion of Civil Society Organisations in the Process of Passing Regulations

    RS0016, 2016, Capacity Building

  4. Improve the system for collecting initiatives from citizens and businesses

    RS0017, 2016, Capacity Building

  5. Introducing standards for civic participation in the public policy management system

    RS0018, 2016, Capacity Building

  6. Improving proactive transparency – Information Booklet

    RS0019, 2016, Capacity Building

  7. Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0020, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  8. Development of an Open Data Portal

    RS0021, 2016, Capacity Building

  9. Draft a bylaw based on the Guidelines for Evaluation of Websites

    RS0022, 2016, Capacity Building

  10. Improve the institute of public hearing in the drafting of laws

    RS0023, 2016, Legislation & Regulation

  11. Development of a uniform methodology for planning, monitoring and performance evaluation of programmes and projects implemented by civil society organisations and monitoring the spending of allocated funds

    RS0024, 2016, Capacity Building

  12. Amend the Regulation on Funds to Support Programmes or Missing Amount of Funds for Programmes of Public Interest implemented by Associations

    RS0025, 2016, Capacity Building

  13. Enactment of a Law on Electronic Documents, Electronic Identification and Trusted Services in Electronic Business

    RS0026, 2016, Capacity Building

  14. Establish a single public register of administrative procedures and other conditions for pursuing a business activity

    RS0027, 2016, Capacity Building

  15. Transparency in Monitoring Budget Expenditures

    RS0001, 2014, Capacity Building

  16. Law on Financing Political Activities

    RS0002, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  17. Transparent Public Procurement Procedures

    RS0003, 2014, Open Contracting and Procurement

  18. Transparent Financing of Civil Society Organizations

    RS0004, 2014, Civic Space

  19. Extending and Clarifying Responsibilities of the Anti-Corruption Agency

    RS0005, 2014, Anti-Corruption Institutions

  20. Whistleblower Protection Trainings and Campaigns

    RS0006, 2014, Legislation & Regulation

  21. Draft Law Regulating Inspections in Public Administration

    RS0007, 2014, Audits and Controls

  22. e-Governmental Portal Awareness and Mobile Application

    RS0008, 2014, E-Government

  23. Starred commitment Public Administration Website Harmonization and Amendments to the Law on Free Access to Information of Public Importance

    RS0009, 2014, E-Government

  24. New Technologies to Improve Citizen Services

    RS0010, 2014, E-Government

  25. Cooperation with Civil Society Organizations in Public Policymaking

    RS0011, 2014, Civic Space

  26. Citizen Participation in Local Government Affairs

    RS0012, 2014, Public Participation

  27. Civil Society Participation in Monitoring the Public Administration (PAR) Strategy

    RS0013, 2014, Audits and Controls