Clean Contracting: Safeguarding EU funds in Europe with Integrity Pacts

Filed under - Public procurement

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What’s at stake?

Five billion euros.

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.

What we’re doing about it

We're running a project that brings together the widest-possible coalition of government, private sector, civil society and citizens to monitor 17 major public contracts in 11 EU countries. Together, these contracts are worth nearly €1 billion.

Through this collaborative monitoring approach, we make sure that these high-profile public contracts are Clean Contracts – i.e., designed and implemented to the highest possible standards of transparency, accountability and efficiency, according to the public interest.

By setting precedents for clean practices throughout 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

We’re pioneering ‘Clean Contracting’ across the EU based on three pillars:.

  • the Integrity Pact (IP): a legally binding commitment signed by all parties to each of the 17 public procurement processes and monitored by our local partners in the 11 EU countries
  • social accountability: participation by those most affected by a procurement process in all phases of the public procurement cycle
  • adherence to open contracting principles and data standards

Integrity Pacts + Social Accountability + Open Data = Clean Contracting

Transparency International invented Integrity Pacts (IPs) to help governments, businesses and civil society fight corruption in public contracting. The IP is both a signed document and a process implemented to ensure accountability, value-for-money and transparency in public contracting. The principle of an IP is that it commits a contracting authority and bidders to comply with best practice and maximum transparency for the duration of the contract and is legally binding. Monitoring these commitments is an independent third actor - usually a civil society organisation. Learn more about IPs here.

In addition to the IP, the project draws on international open contracting principles, and engages the communities, social groups and professional associations directly affected by specific public contract. 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. (Those who live near to where a flood reservoir, highway, hospital or other facility is being built, for example).

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 funds and improve trust and efficiency in public contracts.

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.

Timeline and results


For general queries contact

Zoë Reiter, Clean Contracting Advocacy

Claire Martin, Public Procurement Expert

Anne Pasquet, Project Management

Alice Chambers, Communications

Laura Milchmeyer, Programme Assistant


Country / Territory - Bulgaria   |   Czech Republic   |   Greece   |   Hungary   |   Italy   |   Latvia   |   Lithuania   |   Poland   |   Portugal   |   Romania   |   Slovenia   
Language(s) - English   
Topic - Accountability   |   Civil society   |   Politics and government   |   Public procurement   |   Public services   |   Tools   
Tags - Monitoring   |   European Union   |   Integrity Pacts   |   Public contracting   |   clean contracts   |   DG Regio   |   European Structural and Investment Funds   

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