Each year, governments spend huge sums of money on public procurement – funding roads, bridges, schools, housing, water and power supply, other community improvements… But with these vast expenditures, opportunities for corruption are rife.
Integrity Pacts are a tool for preventing corruption in public contracting. They are essentially an agreement between the government agency offering a contract and the companies bidding for it that they will abstain from bribery, collusion and other corrupt practices for the extent of the contract. To ensure accountability, Integrity Pacts also include a monitoring system typically led by civil society groups (often our chapters).
Integrity Pacts have been around since the 1990s, and have been applied in more than 15 countries and 300 separate situations. They help save taxpayer funds, ensure that infrastructure projects and other public works are delivered efficiently, and stave off avenues for illicit gain.
Examples of Integrity Pacts
A few examples of Integrity Pacts include:
- Since 2002, our chapter in Mexico has implemented pacts in over 100 contracts worth US$ 30 billion. It has also emphasised the use of independent monitors, dubbed ‘social witnesses’, and since 2004 the country’s Public Administration Authority has made social witnesses mandatory for public contracts above a certain threshold.
- Our chapter in Pakistan introduced integrity pacts in 2000, in the Greater Karachi Water Supply project implemented under the responsibility of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board. The chapter monitored the bidding process for the design and supervision of the project and recommended a series of procedures that were maintained for the remaining contracts of the project, which was completed ahead of schedule at a total cost US$10 million less than initially estimated.
Benefits of Integrity Pacts
While Integrity Pacts help ensure clean operations on the part of contractors and public officials during the execution of a project, they also yield other benefits. Integrity Pacts provide enhanced access to information, increasing the level of transparency in public contracts. This, in turn, leads to greater confidence and trust in public decision-making, less litigation over procurement processes and more bidders competing for contracts.
Integrity pacts can also encourage institutional changes, such as the increased use of e-procurement systems, simplified administrative procedures and improved regulatory action.
More information about Integrity Pacts
Click here to see several practical guides on designing and implementing an Integrity Pact.