11.8 Transparency in contracting
Where possible and where it does not impede operational security, all contracts – from sustainment to those directed at development projects or humanitarian aid – should be made public and therefore enable oversight and reporting on problems. It is especially important to release information on what is being paid for, how much it costs, what the requirements for contractors are, and what the timeline for delivery is.
For example, if US$25,000 has been given to build a school, this could be publically announced on TV, radio, in newspapers, during community meetings, and could be posted in the local language at the school site. This allows local communities to assess whether the work on the new school is progressing and whether it is likely to reflect the value of US$25,000. Being transparent about contracts creates new opportunities for oversight and for whistleblowing if stakeholders note discrepancies between specifications and what is being done.
Afghanistan: Corruption and the making of warlords
Transparency on the part of the ISAF chain of command, for example, enabled civil society oversight of projects in Afghanistan, potentially preventing abuses and ensuring better quality of work.View Case Study
While each mission will need to decide what can safely be shared and what would help external stakeholders conduct monitoring, one standard for open contracting which could provide some guidance is here.
Among information to be released, missions could include:
- Planned project deliverables
- Project timelines and milestones
- Contractors and subcontractors participating in the project
- Standards and materiel required
- Amount being paid and payment schedule