Procurement Transparency

Our transparent public procurement measures, included in the amendments of political parties

Reform of the Public Sector Contracts Act iskey to avoiding corruption in public procurement. Nearly all ofCivio's recommendations to improve transparency have been integrated into amendments and will be debated in Congress.

One of our top priorities is to make public procurement more transparent, and we want to keep you informed about the major developments we are achieving in this area. Reform of the Public Sector Contracts Act (PSCA) is key to avoiding corruption in public procurement, and is still being processed in Congress. Since December, we have been working with leading political parties to bring about improvements to this law. It is currently in the submission phase, following the submission of amendments by different groups. Many of these amendments feature Civio's recommendations, at times word for word. This means that almost all of our measures have become amendments and will be debated in Congress, a fantastic victory that we are proud to share with you.

Our measures focuson two areas of the regulation: transparency throughout the entire procurement process, from preliminary studies to final implementation; and the creation of a reliable and independent monitoring system to spot irregularities. With the amendments of allparties already submitted, we can now speak of the first results from the process: almost all have thus far gone on to be added to the list of amendments. In fact, Podemos and Ciudadanos have included the majority; and PSOE, more than half. The PP, for their part, has ignored our recommendations entirely.

Here, you can read a comprehensive review in which we break down the impact of our measures on the amendments which have been submitted by the various parties. From which documents should be made public in any given procurement record, to the publication of the register of Temporary Joint Ventures (UTE in Spanish, one of the black holes we uncovered in ¿Quién cobra la obra?, or Who pays for the work? in English), toregisters of tenderers and contracts, or the publication of the contracts signed by political parties.

Around in circles with the independent monitoring body

This regulator is one of the most important points. The bill proposed by the Government recommends granting the auditing of public procurment to an entity within the Ministry of Finance and Public Function, and fails to include means to carry out said audits. At Civio, we have been lobbying for the creation of a monitoring body for some time, one which is specialized, independent and has sufficient resources to methodically and universally analyze all public procurement.

Our proposal suggested two options: an independent body created for this specific purpose (the optimal solution), or a section within the CNMC - the State Commission on Marketplaces and Competition (a positive solution, but only if certain conditions are fulfilled). This is how we conveyed it to the political parties. Podemos has plumped for the first option and proposes the creation of a Monitoring Office for Public Sector Procurement, with the responsibilities, structure and independence demanded in our recommendations. Ciudadanos has opted to hand such duties to the CNMC, an important step, although they focus such duties on guaranteeing competition among businesses and barely touch on transparency to the public, or systematic monitoring to avoid corruption. This is a focus we are already working to change.

So now what?

These are some of the most notable inclusions in the amendments of political parties. But there are more, up to a total of 34 of our 36 recommendations. The bill is still being processedby Congress. We are planning a meeting with parties to emphasize the importance of certain key points which have not been included in the amendments, and we will continue to monitor and put pressure on the parties to achieve the best possible reforms when it comes to the vote. Although the amendments submitted give us a certain amount of optimism, we must continue to lobby, as this presents a unique opportunity.

The Public Sector Contracts Act is a complex regulation which is only now being thoroughly reformed after a European directive has forced it to (quite delayed). The main opposition parties all agree on the majority of our most crucial recommendations. Hence it is vital that they put their differences aside and push for the best reform possible to a law which is central in the fight against corruption.