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4.3 - Open contracting

Overall status:

This commitment is to review the Government’s compliance with the Open Contracting Data Standard.

The Open Contracting Data Standard sets out key documents and data that should be published at each stage of government procurement. The Standard enables disclosure of data and documents at all stages of the contracting process by defining a common data model. It was created to support organisations to increase contracting transparency, and allow deeper analysis of contracting data by a wide range of users.

In line with the Commonwealth Procurement Rules, Australian Government entities are required to report all procurement contracts with a value of $10,000 or more on AusTender. However, there has not been a formal assessment of the extent to which current practice meets the requirements of the Open Contracting Data Standard.

Current status

This commitment was for the Government to: review its existing compliance with the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), publish and receive public comment on the review, and then implement agreed measures to improve compliance.

The Department of Finance engaged an independent service provider to undertake the review of the Government’s compliance with the Open Contracting Data Standard. The review was completed, and in line with the guidance for agencies in implementing OGP commitments, the report was released for public comment via the Australian Government Procurement Coordinator’s blog on 19 July 2017. Public consultation closed on Thursday 10 August 2017.

The review, undertaken by an independent reviewer, showed that a significant portion of the data outlined by the OCDS was already collected and published on data.gov.au – however, the publication was not in an OCDS compliant format. Finance published the review for comment, receiving five submissions. Key themes raised in submissions noted a common view that there would be benefit from adopting a higher standard of compliance with the OCDS, and that it was premature to suggest that this would be cost prohibitive. In its submission, the Open Contracting Partnership commended the Australian Government for drawing links between the OCDS and the data already collected via AusTender and published on data.gov.au. The Open Contracting Partnership suggested that changes to AusTender may not be required, and that an alternative would be to transfer existing data published on data.gov.au into an OCDS suitable format.

The Government has agreed to investigate options to achieve the suggestion of the Open Contracting Partnership – to increase its compliance with the OCDS by publishing an additional dataset of AusTender contracting data in an OCDS-compliant schema alongside the already published data. Additionally, the Government will keep the OCDS in mind when making iterative improvements to the Commonwealth Procurement Framework and the AusTender platform – specifically the data collection and publication processes and requirements – to continue to increase its compliance with the OCDS where possible and appropriate to do so.

Other stakeholders

Government: All Australian Government entities.

Non-Government: Transparency International Australia and Publish What You Pay

Steps to implementation

Implementation Step Implementation Period Status

Undertake review of compliance with the Open Contracting Data Standard.

Feb-Apr 2017 Completed

Publish review and receive public comment on the review.

May-Jun 2017 Completed but delayed

Implement measures to improve compliance with the Open Contracting Data Standard (if required).

Jun-Aug 2017 Completed but delayed

Status updates for commitments are provided approximately every two months. With each update, agencies are encouraged to provide further and better particulars of the commitment and its steps to implementation, which may result in changes to timelines outlined in Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan 2016-18.

Last updated: 12/02/2019

Peter Timmins

Now eight months since anything was heard or publicly shared about this commitment.

Why so?

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