Open Contracting in UK helps Government transparency

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With the rise in demand for government openness, it has become pertinent for governments to disclose public spending. UK being one of the top ranking country in e-governance initiatives has taken initiatives in bringing about openness and transparency. UK government has chosen the OCDS (Open Contracting Data Standard) through Open Standard Approval Process.


The Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) is a standards development initiative by Omidyar Network and World Bank, and commenced in Nov 2014. Open Contracting Data Standard is a global, non-proprietary data standard structured to reflect the contracting cycle. The focus of OCDS is on public procurement of goods, services and works, and may be extended to cover other contexts. OpenOpps is another company which publishes tenders across the globe using OCDS. 

“OCDS provides a model for government to proactively manage, capture and share quality data.”

OCDS standard is used for all stages of contracting process:

The Open standards allows for extension, templates and inter-operable contracts data. The standard is used at every stage of contracting process when buying goods and services. The users of the information are:


  1. Public sector organization – buyers of goods and services

  2. Potential and existing supplier of goods and services 

  3. Citizens

The benefits of Open Contracting are:


  – Deliver better value for money for governments

  – Create fairer competition and a  level playing for business, especially smaller firms

  – Drive high quality goods, works and services for citizens

  – Prevent fraud and corruption

  – Promote smarter analysis and better solution for public problems.


More than 40 countries and cities are pursuing open contracting such as Canada, Uruguay, Montreal and others. The idea of Open government is also being recognized by global bodies such as G20 Public procurement guidelines.

Some use cases of Open Contracting can be:

  • Monitoring of Service Delivery: Data concerning budgets, delivery location and sub-contracting are useful for contract monitoring.
  • Value for money: Analyze trends in prices and supplier performance, including in terms of quality and duration.
  • Detecting fraud and corruption: Data analysis may help in identifying suspicious patterns, and make links between data sets to map out network of funding, ownership and interests
  • Competing for public contracts: Information on contracts may be used at early stages of contracting to understand the potential pipeline for procurement opportunities.

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