‘’Everyone sees everything’: Overhauling Ukraine’s corrupt contracting sector

Open Contracting Stories: “When Yuriy Bugay, a Maidan revolutionary, showed up for work at Kiev’s public procurement office for the first time, it wasn’t the most uplifting sight. The 27-year-old had left his job in the private sector after joining a group of activists during the protests in Kiev’s main square, with dreams of reforming Ukraine’s dysfunctional public institutions. They chose one of the country’s most broken sectors, public procurement, as their starting point, and within a year, their project had been adopted by Ukraine’s economy ministry, Bugay’s new employer.

…The initial team behind the reform was made up of an eclectic bunch of several hundreds volunteers that included NGO workers, tech experts, businesspeople and civil servants. They decided the best way to make government deals more open was to create an e-procurement system, which they called ProZorro (meaning “transparent” in Ukrainian). Built on open source software, the system has been designed to make it possible for government bodies to conduct procurement deals electronically, in a transparent manner, while also making the state’s information about public contracts easily accessible online for anyone to see. Although it was initially conceived as a tool for fighting corruption, the potential benefits of the system are much broader — increasing competition, reducing the time and money spent on contracting processes, helping buyers make better decisions and making procurement fairer for suppliers….

In its pilot phase, ProZorro saved over UAH 1.5 billion (US$55 million) for more than 3,900 government agencies and state-owned enterprises across Ukraine. This pilot, which won a prestigious World Procurement Award in 2016, was so successful that Ukraine’s parliament passed a new public procurement law requiring all government contracting to be carried out via ProZorro from 1 August 2016. Since then, potential savings to the procurement budget have snowballed. As of November 2016, they stand at an estimated UAH 5.97 billion (US$233 million), with more than 15,000 buyers and 47,000 commercial suppliers using the new system.

At the same time, the team behind the project has evolved and professionalized….(More)”