Accountability and Transparency in Public Procurement

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Accountability and transparency in public procurement

Police chief Hemant Karkare died with bullet proof jacket at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus on 26/11/2008 at 22:45 PM while attacking pakistani terrorists. Bullet Proof jacket was such low quality that does not work! From the above example, we can easily understood the Public procurement is how much transparent in our country. Moreover, It was not published in any newspaper that who is/are accountable for that Bullet Proof jacket(s). Nobody was accountable nor anybody got punishment!!! We can make a lot of SWOT analysis upon accountability and transperancy, public procurement vs. commercial procurement etc. but the question is what’s the thresold limit of compromising.

Not only India, most of the countries alongwith international agencies such as UNDP and the World Bank are in the process of harmonizing and perfecting their approaches to the diagnosis of financial accountability. Such as World Bank’s Country Financial Accountability Assessment (CFAA) (CFAA assess the risk that public funds may be used illegitimately, inefficiently or ineffectively, by comparing the financial management standards and practices of agencies using funds against an international or ‘best practice’ standard.) Sustainable Public Procurement is one major way of seeking to achieve the UNDP’s good governance goal of “realizing development that gives priority to the poor, advances women, sustains the environment and creates needed opportunities for employment and other livelihoods.” The United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) is the first legally binding international anti-corruption instrument. As of 12 July 2012, the convention had been ratified, accepted, approved or acceded to by 161 countries as well as the European Union. On Dec 20, 2011 the Europian Commission officially announced its proposal for the new procurement directives.

Literature review

Literally accountability means the state of being accountable, liable, or answerable i.e. responsible, by both its people and its elected bodies, for its choices and actions. Transparency denotes the free access to governmental political and economic activities and decisions.

Procurement is everything associated with an incoming invoice. This holds true for goods, services, and works.

In public procurement transparency and accountability have been recognised as key conditions for promoting integrity and preventing corruption, balancing with other good governance imperatives, such as an efficient management of public resources, providing guarantees for fair competition etc. In order to ensure overall value for money, the challenge for decision makers is to define an appropriate degree of transparency and accountability to reduce risks to integrity in public procurement while pursuing other aims of public procurement.

Who is accountable?

Every person who is in a position of power on trust is accountable for the use of that power. Within the execution of any system, there is a hierarchical structure by which each level is accountable to the next higher level, from desk clerk to the cabinet.

For instance, the clerk who failed to maintain up-to-date records, the Officer who failed to supervise the Clerk, the Head of Department who is answerable to Parliament, but failed to get sufficient trained staff etc. and so on. But it is easy to pin down who is accountable.

Public Procurement & Transparency

The goal of Public procurement are :
a) serving the organisation, b) appropriate use of public funding, c) efficient use of public funding, d) accountability, e) value for money etc.

But the real picture of public procurement is horrible !

The most common practice is “Low Bid” or H1 bidder. But the “low bid” is equated to a poor quality standard have often soured the public perception of the profession, even though the interpretation of some of these decisions may have been reported out of context....
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