A guide for Open Contracting: the way towards an open and centralized procurement register

Together with the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations, Open State is developing an open and central procurement register, as part of the Action Plan Open Government 2021-2023. Now that we have reached phase two – the actual development of the Open Contract Register – Open State, with support from the Open Contracting Partnership, has developed this guide. The guide offers the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations a tool for getting started with the development of an Open Contract Register, using highlighted best practices, case studies, misconceptions and recommendations. 

From phase 1 to phase 2 in the project

With the “Open Contract Register” project, the Ministry of the Interior and the Open State Foundation have jointly taken up the challenge of making public procurement data more and better public on the basis of three phases. The first phase, the user survey among Dutch companies, industry associations, knowledge organisations and journalists, provided insight into their information needs regarding public procurement. Now the Ministry of the Interior faces the task of developing an Open Contract Register: which information and data will be published and will this be organised. Determining the level of ambition is crucial here. It determines to what extent the needs of (re)users of this data are met and to what extent they can play a role in public procurement.

The contents of the target guide in brief

To support the Ministry of the Interior in setting its ambition, this report provides insight into the added value of open procurement. The evidence is specifically linked to the government-wide procurement strategy ‘Procurement with Impact’. It also addresses two common misconceptions about open procurement – that it is (too) expensive (1) and that public contracts by definition cannot be made public (2).

Finally, various international case studies provide insight into how other countries implement open procurement and what the results have been so far. For example, the BASE register of Portugal: through a single electronic repository, contracts are accessible to (all) re-users. The added value of opening up this type of contracting information was clearly measurable: it resulted in an overall cost saving of 12%, price reductions of up to 20% and increased efficiency and effectiveness. This makes Portugal the leader in centralising the publication of procurement data.

How can the Netherlands follow in the footsteps of these examples? In the guide, we mention two concrete steps for phase two (the development of a central procurement register): learn from international best practices via workshops (1) and initiate an innovative tender in order to obtain a concrete design and plan (2).

With this guide we hope to help BZK during phase two, and at the same time this document is our substantive response to the policy memorandum of the Ministry of the Interior of December 2021.

Open procurement is not only desirable, but also feasible and realistic!

Download below the roadmap (in Dutch):

Lees hier de Doelgids Open Inkoop: De weg naar een open en centraal inkoopregister.