11.4 Promoting competition: merit- and integrity-based requirements
International forces might not always be able to avoid contracting with politically exposed or connected persons, such as company owners or managers linked to politicians through familial, social or ethnic ties. There are, however, two ways way to limit contracting with politically connected companies.
One, donors can use precise bid language and project specifications to discourage political bids. Realistic standards, based on a thorough analysis of the local market and coupled with a solid assessment of resources needed to implement it can help assess bids and avoid fraud; holding companies to exacting performance standards, can also discourage the politically connected.
“…[H]old people to standards, and you can bankrupt the incompetent and the politically connected.”
Donor official, September 2017
Two, mission leadership could put a premium on corporate integrity standards: policies mitigating corruption risks, regulations of conflicts of interest, staff training, and inclusion of subcontractors in integrity requirements could all be treated as a competitive advantage in the bidding process. This would make working with integrity a sensible, not just a moral, choice. A key challenge, however, is ensuring that company anti-corruption measures are in fact aimed at limiting corruption, not merely ensuring compliance and a correct paper trail.
Performance standards: The World Bank
The World Bank requires documentation of performance to be submitted with bids and attempts to verify it as part of due diligence. The Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan has adopted a similar policy, requesting detailed performance records from potential contractors.View external case study
Competitive advantage: The World Bank
The World Bank treats bidders’ ability to mitigate corruption risks as a competitive advantage in the bidding process. Alongside price and quality of work, it has become one of the selection criteria in the Bank’s work, especially in fragile and conflict states.View external case study