Dutch e-procurement agency starts publishing tenders and contracts as open data

As of March 16, 2016 TenderNed, the Dutch e-procurement agency publishes tenders and public procurement as open data. TenderNed just published a first dataset with announcement data. It includes the metadata of all notices published between December 3, 2010 until December 31, 2015.

This is a first step to make public procurement and contracting data open. Every year, governments and public administrations in the Netherlands spend more than € 60 billion in products and services through contracts. Open State Foundation has continuously called on the Dutch government to publish information on tenders, awards and contracts as open data.

The first dataset consists of all public data TenderNed has published apart from contact email addresses and telephone numbers. It will publish an update every six months (January and July). This is good news for entrepreneurs because of improved competition and for citizens because it leads to greater transparency on the use of public funds.

Open tenders and public contracts, such as ICT, healthcare and infrastructure construction, are part of an open democratic process. Open contracting means a better outcome for governments, provides a level playing field for businesses and entrepreneurs, and better quality of public services and public goods to citizens.
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The current dataset now contains only the procurement data from the summary page of all the announcements on TenderNed from 2010 to 2015. In this dataset there are 35,822 contracts, half of which consists of services, the majority by public bodies, regional or local authorities and ministries. A quarter consists of deliveries and slightly less for works. Three-quarters were European tenders and a quarter just national.

Open contracting
The dataset will be expanded in the second quarter of 2016 with all other public data: requirements, selection and award criteria and information about companies to whom and for what amount the contracts were awarded. In addition TenderNed plans to release the original XML of each notice when it is published.

The standard used for procurement in Europe is called TC440. This standard does not yet comply with the international open contracting standard but the start of publishing these data is a good step towards it.

Open contracting and open procurement cover the entire chain and the entire process, from planning to tenders, from awards to implementing the contracts. Unlocking this information as open data in an open format helps stakeholders, informs them better, provides for fair competition among businesses, particularly for SMEs and is a driver for improved quality of public goods and services for citizens. Moreover, it helps prevent and combat fraud and corruption and ensures better analysis and solutions.

Countries such as Ukraine and Slovakia are already using this international standard for open contracting. In Ukraine have open contracting via Prozorro resulted in savings of 13 percent. In Slovakia open contracting helped preventing mistakes and fraud and has enhanced competition and innovation as smaller companies had better access to information.