Integrity Pacts Programme - Safeguarding EU Funds in Europe

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

Five billion euros.

17 PROJECTS, 11 COUNTRIES
Click here to see them all

According to experts, that’s what corruption in ‘public procurement’ (contracts awarded by government agencies) could be costing the European Union each year. This financial black hole has disastrous consequences: when clean and competitive companies know that a contract to build a hospital or school is rigged, why would they bother to bid? The losers are plain to see: the country’s citizens who endure bad services, and the EU taxpayers whose money disappears.

We're running a project that brings together a coalition of government, private sector, civil society and citizens in a project called "Integrity Pacts – Civil Control Mechanism for Safeguarding EU Funds" to make sure that 17 major public contracts in 11 EU countries are clean contracts – i.e., designed and implemented to the highest possible standards of transparency, accountability and efficiency, according to the public interest. Together, these contracts are worth nearly €1 billion. We're doing this using a tool we call the Integrity Pact in collaboration with 15 local partner organisations and funded by the European Commission.

WHAT IS AN INTEGRITY PACT?
An Integrity Pact is a legally-binding document that commits a contracting authority, bidders and an independent monitor to comply with anti-corruption best practices. Learn more.

Integrity Pacts were developed by TI as a tool for preventing corruption in public contracting. An Integrity Pact is a document signed between a contracting authority, bidders and an independent monitor. Legally binding, it commits all parties to comply with anti-corruption best practice for the duration of the contract and allows the monitor to make sure this happens. Monitors follow the whole procurement process - from the design of the tender to the implementation of the contract. They commit to maximum transparency and all monitoring reports and results are made available to the public on an ongoing basis.

 

By setting precedents for clean practices in each country’s public contracting process we will help build confidence among the public, government agencies and the private sector that funds are being spent efficiently and as they should – and that redress is possible if corruption does occur.

OUR APPROACH TO CLEAN CONTRACTING

In addition to the Integrity Pact, the project draws on international open contracting principles, and engages the communities, social groups and professional associations directly affected by specific public contract; those who live near to where a flood reservoir, highway, hospital or other facility is being built, for example. These social accountability mechanisms are necessary for building trust in the public procurement process and ensuring that these big projects reflect the public interest, particularly the interest of those communities and groups most affected by the project. That means engaging these communities in monitoring the procurement along as many phases of the project (from pre-tender to implementation and evaluation) as possible.

We aim to help achieve broader and deeper scrutiny of public contracts than previously possible, and to bring citizens much closer to the process, working with individuals in the public and private sector to safeguard European money and improve trust and efficiency in public contracts.

Our work is based on five pillars as outlines in our Clean Contracting Manifesto:

  • Pillar 1: Implemention of Open Contracting Data Standards and transparent monitoring systemsn in all public procurement processes
  • Pillar 2: Independent civil society monitoring of public procurement processes and projects
  • Pillar 3: Participation by affected communities, in all phases of the public procurement process
  • Pillar 4: A strong, professional and engaged civil society sector
  • Pillar 5: A strong and credible sanctions regime ​

 

For more information on our clean contracting and public procurement work, have a look here.

Timeline and milestones

  • March 2015: Transparency International and DG Regio launch a pilot project to work towards ensuring clean contracting in the European Structural and Investment Funds.
  • May 2015: a conference in Brussels brought together national procurement entities and civil society organisations to raise awareness about Integrity Pacts as a tool to support EU Member States, regions and cities in effectively managing EU investments.
  • May 2015: Transparency International and DG Regio launch two calls for expression of interest from contacting authorities and civil society organisations interested in piloting Integrity Pacts in projects co-financed by the European Structural and Investment Fund, 17 applicants are shortlisted.
  • January 2016: the pilot project involving monitoring of 17 public procurement projects across 11 countries gets underway.
  • April 2016: Project kick-off meeting in Berlin with project partners.
  • June 2016: Integrity Pact Partner Event in Brussels with Managing and Contracting Authorities involved in the project.
  • January 2017: 9 Integrity Pacts have been signed: BulgariaLombardy, Italy; Sardinia, ItalyCalabria, ItalyCzech Republic; Hungary, M6 motorway; LatviaPoland; Slovenia.
  • May 2017: Civil society monitors meet in Vilnius to discuss progress and take stock.
  • August 2017: Civil society monitors submit their reports covering the period January to June 2017.
  • December 2017: All project partners including contracting authorities, government officials and winning bidders meet in Bucharest to take stock of the project at the halfway point. Read our analysis here.
  • January 2018: Civil society monitors submit their reports covering the period August to December 2017.​
  • January 2018: 6 additional Integrity Pacts have been signed in Lithuania, Romania, Italy.
  • February 2018: Civil society monitors submit their reports covering the period July to December 2017.
  • May 2018: Civil society monitors meet in Budapest to discuss progress and take stock.
  • August 2018: Civil society monitors submit their reports covering the period January to June 2018.
  • November 2018: All project partners, contracting authorities, government officials, private sector representatives and representatives from the European Commission meet in Brussels to share lessons learned and look to the future.
  • December 2018: 3 final Integrity Pacts have been signed in Greece, Portugal and Romania.

 

WHO’S INVOLVED

The Transparency International Secretariat and Transparency International EU coordinate the project, with the financial support of the EU's Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy (DG Regio).

In total, 15 national partners are monitoring 17 public contracts across 11 EU member countries.

For general queries contact integritypacts@transparency.org



Programme contacts

Language(s) - English   
Tags - Public procurement   |   Integrity Pacts   |   EU funds   

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