Clean contracting at work: an example from Vilnius

Clean contracting at work: an example from Vilnius

The Neris River runs through the centre of Vilnius, Lithuania's capital, and its banks are one of the most beloved public spaces in the city. Now the Vilnius City Municipality plans to revitalise the riverside area with new paths and cycle lanes, and amenities that both locals and tourists can enjoy.

The total budget for the project is €10.5 million. To make sure that all this money is spent in the best interests of the people of Vilnius, the municipal authorities have committed to work with Transparency International Lithuania to open up the process to public scrutiny. Part of this commitment includes signing what we call an Integrity Pact between the city and Transparency International Lithuania.

The monitoring of the Neris Riverside development is part of a wider initiative to promote clean contracting across Europe, coordinated by Transparency International and supported by the European Union. We're monitoring 17 major public contracts in 11 EU countries. Together, these contracts are worth nearly €1 billion.

Civil society will monitor these contracts in order to make the public procurement process understandable to ordinary citizens and to hold elected officials to account. By telling a complex public procurement story in a transparent and meaningful way we have a much better chance of keeping corruption out of the picture and of ensuring that these big projects serve the public interest.

  • A clean contract is one that is designed and implemented to the highest possible standards of transparency, accountability and efficiency, according to the public interest.
  • An Integrity Pact is a signed document that legally commits governments and bidders to comply with anti-corruption best practices. Transparency International first developed the Integrity Pact in the 1990s and more than 300 have been used around the world in 15 different countries since then.

Why are clean contracts important?

Last year the Lithuanian government spent over €4 billion on public contracts – that’s over 40 per cent of the Lithuania’s 2016 national budget. However, as the Public Procurement Office only has the capacity to thoroughly evaluate around 3.4 per cent of high-value procurement procedures, space for corruption in the public procurement process remains huge.

Artist's rendering of Vilnius riverside redevelopment

According to the Lithuanian Map of Corruption 2016 study carried out last year by the Special Investigation Service, Lithuania’s anti-corruption law enforcement institution, corruption is seen as one of the top problems faced by Lithuanian society. Bribery and nepotism remain major corruption issues. And it is not just bad for citizens: in 2012, 70 per cent of bidders surveyed claimed to have decided at least once not to participate in a tender because they believed the process was rigged.

This is an EU-wide problem. Corruption in public procurement is estimated to cost EU taxpayers €5 billion per year (the EU spends around 14 per cent of its GDP on public procurement). This is money that could be used to build or refurbish hospitals and schools or make dangerous roads safer.

When corruption gets in the way of a government’s ability to provide vital public services to its citizens, money is not the only thing at stake – the public’s trust in their government is too. The rise of contemporary populism is a symptom of an increasing number of people who think government doesn’t work for them, but only for a corrupt few. If we want to talk about making government work for its citizens, public procurement is a good place to start.

This web feature is based on work under the Integrity Pacts project, coordinated by Transparency International and 15 partners in 11 EU countries, with funding from the European Commission. For more information, have a look at the project website. If you need more information, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Images: Copyright, Vilnius City Municipality

For any press enquiries please contact press@transparency.org

Latest

Support Transparency International

La Justicia española debe investigar el lavado de imagen de Azerbaiyán en Europa

Tres políticos españoles —Pedro Agramunt, Agustín Conde Bajén y Jordi Xuclá— se encuentran entre los delegados ante la Asamblea Parlamentaria del Consejo de Europa (APCE) sobre los que pesan sospechas de haberse beneficiado con la maniobra del “Laundromat”.

Clean up Spain – Justice for Azerbaijan’s reputation laundering in Europe

In Azerbaijan, critical voices are routinely suppressed. Meanwhile in Europe, politicians suspected of helping whitewash Azerbaijan’s record on human rights enjoy impunity. Join our campaign to urge authorities in Spain to investigate.

Everything you need to know about the 18th International Anti-Corruption Conference (#18IACC)

The #18IACC will take place from 22-24 October in Copenhagen, Denmark under the theme Together for Development, Peace and Security: Now is the Time to Act. Get the latest info and updates here!

Risky business: Europe’s golden visa programmes

Are EU Member States accepting too much risk in their investor migration schemes?

Future Against Corruption Award 2018

TI is calling on young people across the globe to join the anti-corruption movement. People between the age of 18 and 35 are invited to submit a short video clip presenting their idea on new ways to fight corruption. Three finalists will be invited to Berlin during the International Anti-Corruption Day festivities to be awarded with the Future Against Corruption Award. Apply today!

The Azerbaijani Laundromat one year on: has justice been served?

In September last year, a massive leak of bank records from 2012 to 2014 showed that the ruling elite of Azerbaijan ran a $3 billion slush fund and an international money laundering scheme. One year on, has enough been done to hold those involved to account?

Right to information: knowledge is power

The right to information is vital for preventing corruption. When citizens can access key facts and data from governments, it is more difficult to hide abuses of power and other illegal activities - governments can be held accountable.

Social Media

Follow us on Social Media