Table of Contents

  • Public procurement represents a significant share of countries’ economies, on average over 13% of GDP and 29% of government expenditure among OECD members. It is also a rapidly developing field. The combined fiscal pressure to “do more with less” following the financial crisis and the development of new tools and approaches has led to a renaissance in public procurement reform in recent years. The focus of such reform has expanded from enhancing integrity to a broader view of strategic public procurement as way to achieve key government policy objectives, build citizen trust and foster inclusive growth. Countries, including Colombia, are re-evaluating existing processes and procedures to increase efficiency, integrity and service quality, following well-established good governance principles.

  • Public procurement is a crucial activity of government, with important strategic implications. It is not only an area where the public and private spheres intersect; it is also a critical channel for delivering services to citizens. Therefore, ensuring the integrity, transparency and accountability of public procurement is essential to public trust. Providing relevant information to all stakeholders, safeguarding the integrity of officials responsible for the procurement process, opening and levelling the playing field for potential providers, and guaranteeing adequate remedy and redress processes are all cornerstones of an effective public procurement system.

  • The quality, availability and usefulness of data is a key determining factor for the success of public procurement reform. This chapter outlines OECD research on the importance of public procurement data across a number of relevant areas, including an emphasis on transparency, procurement system monitoring, and accountability in the context of the 2015 OECD “Recommendation of the Council on Public Procurement”. The important role of e-procurement systems in supporting the collection and use of data is also examined. Against this background, the availability and use of data in the public procurement system in Colombia is explored, with particular focus on the quality of the data collected, real access to the data and opportunities for disclosure among a variety of stakeholders, citizen engagement with public procurement data and related accountability activities.

  • Public procurement is a complex activity involving multiple stakeholders at different stages, and this interaction between the public and the private sectors makes public procurement an area highly prone to corruption or integrity breaches. In particular, conflict of interest, generally used to describe the conflict between public official’s public duty and his or her private interests, is a growing concern. Effective identification, prevention and management of conflicts of interest by an organisation are not only influenced by the controls and policies it implements, but also by its culture and prevention efforts. Active commitment and involvement from public servants are imperative to maintain an environment that stimulates integrity and rejects corruption and wrongdoing. In this light, this chapter describes the general context of Colombia’s management of conflict of interest during the public procurement cycle and provides recommendations to improve it.

  • This chapter examines the use of available tender procedures and evaluation criteria to award contracts in the Colombian public procurement system. These issues entail the distribution of public resources to private entities, and are important not only because decisions that are made during this process can be harmful for the integrity of the procurement process but also because they can lead to waste of public funds if they are not carried out in a transparent and equitable manner. The focus of this chapter is therefore on the criteria for selecting procurement methods and the criteria for awarding a certain bid a contract. There is special focus on direct awarding and the mechanism that is in place to support secondary objectives.

  • This chapter looks into the role of suppliers and control entities to enforce public procurement law and principles, and prevent and correct irregularities. Ensuring accountable public procurement involves a variety of interrelated controls, which are examined in this chapter. Actions by suppliers include observations before public procurement authorities and legal remedies before the courts. Measures by Colombia’s control entities are fiscal and disciplinary.