Entire government contracting process to be made public for first time

12 May 2016

The process of awarding government contracts from bidding to building will be made visible to the public, the government has announced at its Anti-Corruption Summit.

The UK has become the first G7 country to commit to the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), which applies to contracts administered by a central purchasing authority, in this case the Crown Commercial Service.

The OCDS enforces the disclosure of all data and documents at all stages of the contracting process. The approach will be piloted by the High Speed Rail 2 project, followed by the Crown Commercial Service in October this year.

The measures are part of the UK Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18 which sets out 13 commitments on transparency, anti-corruption and open government, and explains how the government is making information clearer.

Other plans include an additional conviction check so that individuals and companies convicted of corruption-related offences cannot win public contracts. The government said it would work with international partners to share information and flag up bidders with relevant convictions.

Earlier on at the summit the government announced that companies that want to bid for central government contracts will have to join a register.

The register of beneficial ownership information, the first of its kind, covers forty jurisdictions and would allow police and law enforcement agencies to see exactly who owns and controls every company incorporated in these jurisdictions.

Matt Hancock, minister for the Cabinet Office and paymaster general, said that it was not inevitable that countries are held back by corruption, and that it was a global problem which required co-ordinated action.

“The UK is determined to lead the fight against corruption, which is why we are today committing ourselves to increasing transparency, introducing additional criminal check, and creating a new anti-corruption hub,” he added.

“We must act together to make sure there is no hiding place for those that perpetrate the corruption that spreads injustice and divides our world.”

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