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 were developed as a tool for preventing corruption in public contracting.
An Integrity Pact is both a signed document and approach to public contracting which commits a contracting authority and bidders to comply with best practice and maximum transparency. A third actor, usually a civil society organisation (often one of our chapters), monitors the process and commitments made. Monitors commit to maximum transparency and all monitoring reports and results are made available to the public on an ongoing basis.
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 money, ensure that infrastructure projects and other public works are delivered efficiently, and close off avenues for illicit gain. An update to the Integrity Pact concept in 2016 has seen it draw on major advances in the areas of technology and civic participation.
The Integrity Pact is co-created by TI national chapters, or other civil society partners, and government officials responsible for a particular procurement process. Its clauses are drawn from both international open contracting principles as well as the local legal and social context. In this way the tool is constantly evolving based on lessons learned and best practice around the world as well as up-to-date analysis regarding the country and sector's corruption risk profile. In this way, the Integrity Pact avoids being a one-size fits all approach but rather a living tool that adapts to local opportunities and challenges.
Examples from around the world
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.
In 2013, Transparency International's partner in Honduras exposed massive corruption in the purchase, sales and distribution of medicines to state hospitals that was endangering the lives of untold numbers of Hondurans. As a result, an Integrity Pact was signed with the Ministry of Health and with major pharmaceutical companies to monitor the purchase and supply of medicines in the country. This IP came into force in 2017. As part of the IP, individual Ministry of Health employees and external actors that provide services to the Ministry, such as the College of Chemists and Pharmacists of Honduras and Banco de Occidente, have signed an ethics statement. The IP has already lead to increased access to information, and increased compliance with open data principles.
In 2016, Transparency International together with 11 national chapters in the European Union and five other local civil society partners embarked on a process to apply the updated clean contracting approach. Involving just short of EUR 1 billion of funding, this pilot incorporates projects across the spectrum from flood protection to road building to tram construction. Learn more about the project here.
Externally hosted content may include ads. These aren't endorsed by or reflect Transparency International's views.
What are the benefits?
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 increased commitment to making data available in a truly open format, simplified administrative procedures and improved regulatory action.
The following resources provide extensive information on the concept, design and implementation of Integrity Pacts.
Engaging civil society for better procurement outcomes
The Integrity Pact (IP) is a powerful tool developed by Transparency International to help governments, businesses and civil society fight corruption in public contracting. Here are some of the concrete ways in which the IP tool has been used to engage civil society and improve public procurement across the world.
The business case for Integrity Pacts
It’s all too common for companies to encounter corruption during public procurement processes. In the EU alone, corrupt bidding processes have increased annual contract costs by US$5 billion. The effects can be disastrous, including exposing companies to serious risks. The Integrity Pact (IP) is a powerful tool developed by Transparency International to help governments, businesses and civil society fight corruption in public contracting. This publication looks specifically at how the IP tool can benefit businesses.
The Integrity Pact (IP) is a powerful tool developed by Transparency International to help governments, businesses and civil society fight corruption in public contracting. With this implementation manual, we aim to help leaders and champions within their own governments across the world who are determined to overcome corruption in public contracting. This manual is a hands-on, practical guide to familiarise government officials in charge of public procurement processes with the Integrity Pact and to provide them with tools and ideas for its application.
A how-to guide from practitioners
The purpose of this publication is to contribute to the already existing literature on Integrity Pacts, but from a civil society perspective. Representatives from 10 Transparency International chapters were brought together to review the challenges that are faced in the different stages of Integrity Pacts, and to document the ways they have found to overcome them. These span from the moment IP implementation is being considered, until the time when the final results are evaluated. This guide does not intend to convince anyone of the usefulness of Integrity Pacts: rather, it is designed for those who are considering implementing, or have already decided to implement, an Integrity Pact. It is for those who are new to Integrity Pacts – who have questions about where, when and how to start implementing them.
Integrity Pacts in the water sector
This collaboration between the Water Integrity Network (WIN) and Transparency International seeks to help determined leaders and champions to overcome corruption in public contracting within their own governments. Government officials and other interested parties can use the manual to familiarise themselves with the Integrity Pact and apply it to their situation. The manual emphasises the water sector but can serve as a more general set of guidelines in other sectors.
Lessons from Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan
This handbook is designed to provide a basic introduction to the challenge of overcoming corruption in the field of public procurement. It provides readers with examples of counter-corruption efforts including the use of Integrity Pacts. The publication was issued as a result of a project carried out with our chapters from Indonesia, Malaysia and Pakistan.