-

Open standards for the inclusiveness and participation of civil society in the monitoring of public spending

What is the commitment?

The commitment aims to create the conditions to encourage the use of existing information assets at the national and European levels, starting from the improvement and systematisation of existing resources and starting a virtuous cycle of co-creation that involves all stakeholders. This implies a commitment to make their information resources more usable by the administrations that possess data that, although not directly representing the PNRR implementation flows, can still provide relevant information to favour the participation and inclusion of civil society in the processes of monitoring. This commitment takes concrete form, for example, in the publication of data in an open format, providing platforms for their visualisation, and adopting shared and widely disseminated standard formats.
In particular, the National Anti-Corruption Authority is committed to improving the CSOs and stakeholders' usability of the data collected in the National Database of Public Contracts, recognised by the CAD as a database of national interest. This is achieved through a free access portal and by providing dashboards for navigation and self-service analysis of published data, datasets in RDF open format, and by adopting the OCDS standard (Open Contracting Data Standard) for their representation. Data in the database is communicated to the Authority by the responsible processors (RUP) of the Contracting Stations and are published in their original form.
The OCDS standard is the leading international standard for the publication in an open format of data and information relating to the planning, procurement and implementation of public tenders, the use of which has also been promoted by the G20, the G7 and major international organisations, including the OECD. In particular, it is planned to adopt the OCDS profile for the European Union so that the data in an open format is also comparable with those collected by the publication portal of the European gazette TED, paving the way for comparison with this data source.

The general aim is to enhance some information resources existing at the national level, putting them into a system, thus promoting the inclusion of civil society actors in the monitoring of public spending.
The expected result is the availability of open and machine-readable data of the tenders/tenders, part of which will relate to tenders that implement the NRRP; ANAC is expected to publish the datasets regarding the publication phase of the call for tenders, the awarding phase and the final phase of contracts in an open format according to the model proposed by the Open Contracting Partnership for all contracts worth more than € 40,000. It is expected that other administrations will take part in the commitment so that the development plans implemented by the tenders can be identified (OpenCup database) and, if necessary, it is possible to receive information regarding the tenders relevant to the NRRP through an external data source, respecting the Once Only principle.
The Department for Digital Transformation (DTD) of the Ministry for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition contributes to the realisation of the commitment by updating the semantic content of the data published on the National Data Catalog and the publication of APIs on the National Digital Data Platform with the relative metadata in such a way as to make this information compatible with the OCDS standards.

What is the problem that the commitment will address?

Citizens and civil society organisations sometimes complain about the lack of open and usable data sources to monitor public spending in a widespread manner. The data shared by public administrations are often published as indicators in an aggregate form or follow particular schemes that replicate the collection formats or derive from the specific needs of the administration that collects them. Sometimes, it is challenging to connect data from different administrations and compare them with open or commercial sources or those of other countries. The low digital literacy worsens the problem in the country (see surveys at European level), which prevents full use of public data sources even when existing and available and does not help the inclusion of civil society in analysis and monitoring processes. Overcoming this problem is an enabling factor for inclusive digital innovation.

 

 

 

How will the commitment contribute to solving the problem?

The adoption of standard formats and common rules for the publication of data on procurement, both at the national and European level, favours the involvement of civil society in the monitoring of public spending and the comparison with what is happening in other countries. The use of shared standards will facilitate the analysis of the initiatives included in the PNRR. There are two levels of the solution to the problem presented in the previous section to be envisaged: the standardisation process that favours interoperability and the ability to connect different data sources; the adoption of a mature and widespread standard at the international level creating the conditions for monitoring and comparison with other countries; the simplification deriving from the adoption of a single and well-documented format such as OCDS should reduce the entry barriers for the processes of participatory governance, thus fostering the development of skills by citizens and businesses and inclusive digital innovation.

Why is this commitment relevant to OGP values?

The commitment is aligned with the values and pillars of the Open Government Partnership since it enhances transparency, supports civic participation, and improves accountability and integrity in the governance of resources. Public procurement is one of the most valuable datasets. Their availability in an open format is a fundamental and decisive element for the success of an open government plan. Through procurement, administrations use public resources to purchase goods and services and to carry out works that must serve citizenship. More specifically, the commitment aims to facilitate access to new technologies for openness and responsibility. Adopting Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), an open-source standard for governments to release their procurement information in an accessible and easy-to-use way, reaping the full benefits of transparency, accountability and participation.

Additional information

The commitment appears consistent with the National Recovery and Resilience Plan, with particular reference to Mission 1 (Digitization, innovation, competitiveness and culture), area of intervention "PA Digitization - Components: M1C1 Digitization, innovation and safety in the Public Administration, Investments and reforms: Data and interoperability (Investment 1.3), with a budget of 0.65 billion €.
For the monitoring activity on implementing the Italian NRRP, the development of a unique computer system by the MEF Department of State General Accounting is envisaged. (Article 1, paragraph 1043, Law n. 178/2020). This monitoring system detects all data relating to the implementation of the NRRP, both at the financial level, through the detection of the expenses incurred for the implementation of the measures and reforms and at the physical and procedural level, through the detection of specific indicators. The MEF system also provides for the acquisition of target and milestones progress data by ensuring the traceability and transparency of operations and the sharing of data between the various parties involved in the governance of the NRRP itself; it is envisaged that such data and information, in an open and machine-readable format, also have access to all citizens, guaranteeing the application of Italian and European legislation on public and open data and administrative transparency (Article 9 of the Prime Minister's Decree 15 September 2021).
Links to other relevant plans, such as a national development plan or an anti-corruption strategy
A coalition of civil society organisations and professionals recently launched the Open Spending EU Coalition; the initiative was launched to encourage and support the openness of public expenditure data including new initiatives included in the NRRP. The coalition works to ensure that government spending is made in an open, fair, efficient way. The coalition has drafted a series of recommendations specifically related to the transparency of the EU's Recovery and Resilience Plans, outlining what EU member states should proactively publish information.

Activities

Establishment of a working group to promote the openness and inclusiveness of public information assets on public contracts by adopting shared standards, such as OCDS. In the WG, ANAC will play the role of facilitator by making available a first high-impact data source (High-Value Data Set - ANAC open data portal) and the self-service Analysis portal to stimulate the participation of all stakeholders. Civil society organisations will be called upon to focus on involvement in using data in an open format.
Start date - End date
1st March 2022 - 31st December 2023

Recognition of the currently existing data sources that can integrate that of ANAC to cover the information needs of civil society better.
Mutual Empowerment and sharing of experiences between civil society organisations to facilitate the implementation of the next action.
Start date - End date
1st April 2022 - 31st December 2023

Integration of ANAC data with other data sources - e.g., OpenCUP - can parallel the previous cycle - the possibility of synergies with the "participation" action and the civic debate. This action will be in charge of civil society organisations and aims to make concrete empowerment results. ANAC will play the role of facilitator.
Start date - End date
1st September 2022 - 31st December 2023

Collection of feedback, suggestions for improving data portals (quality indicators from the point of view of data users, such as usability, ease of use, coverage of relevant areas, usefulness)
Start date - End date
1st September 2022 - 31st December 2023

Update or extension of the semantic content published on NDC - National Data Catalog for Semantic Interoperability, so that it is compatible with OCDS (in collaboration with the Department for Digital Transformation).
Start date - End date
1st April 2022 - 31st December 2023

API publication on PDND with related metadata through the National Data Catalog for Semantic Interoperability (in collaboration with the Department for Digital Transformation).
Start date - End date
1st September 2022 - 31st December 2023

Lead implementing actors

  • National Anti-Corruption Authority (ANAC)

Other actors involved in the implementation - Public sector

  • President of the Council of Ministers - Department for the planning and coordination of economic policy (DIPE),
    Ministry for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition - Department for Digital Transformation (DTD)
    Presidency of the Council of Ministers – Cohesion policies Department

Other actors involved in the implementation - Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and the private sector

  • Associazione OnData
  • Associazione Monithon
  • Cittadinanzattiva
  • Fondazione Etica
  • Osservatorio Civico PNRR
  • Parliament Watch Italia (PWI)
  • Transparency International Italia

Contact information

National Anti-Corruption Authority - ANAC (International Relations Office), Giovanni Paolo Sellitto, Relazioni.Internazionali@anticorruzione.it

Public Administration Department, Ugo Bonelli, OGP Task Force, ogp@funzionepubblica.it