It’s not every day in the open technology space that the opportunity to be the very first at something arises. But last week, we were a part of the launch of the Government of Makueni County’s Open Contracting Portal – Kenya’s first sub-national open contracting portal.
Figure 1: The DG team on the ground in Makueni County, Kenya, at the launch
The Open Contracting Portal is an interactive site built by Development Gateway (DG) that provides detailed information about each step along the tender and award procurement process. Additionally, it provides a series of charts that provides helpful data insights – such as how many tenders are open vs. direct, how often a single item is procured for, and the percentage of awards that go towards the Access to Government Procurement Opportunities (AGPO), that requires tenders to be awarded to women, youth, and people with disabilities.
The Portal is built to encourage data use by enabling sub-national users to:
- Sign up to receive email alerts for updates to specific tenders, contracts, or from specific departments;
- Download copies of original documents for each procurement stage, and signed contracts;
- Provide feedback on particular tenders and their related data;
- Download all the data in the system in both Excel and JSON (OCDS) formats.
Figure 2: The Open Contracting Portal's main page displaying tenders at different stages in the procurement process
In addition to the public data, government users can also access the Corruption Risk Dashboard, which is a DG tool that flags tenders and awards based on specific metrics that may indicate corruption. For example, if only one bidder bids in an open tender, or if the winner’s price was 25% higher than any others – those both indicate risk of corruption.
County level procurement processes have been largely paper-based until this point, making it challenging to draw useful insights for procurement decision making. However, the Open Contracting Portal allows government staff to directly enter data, upload approved documents, and complete data validation in-portal to support high-quality data entry.
Figure 3: Celebrating the launch of the Open Contracting Portal, including Governor Professor Kivutha Kibwana, CS Joe Mucheru - Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Communications, Makueni Chief Executive Committee Members, DGs Charlene Migwe
Last year, DG began working with the Government of Makueni County (GMC) to understand country and government priorities in increasing transparency – holding conversations with communities, media, private sector, and CSOs.
Working at the county level allows for greater granularity and the ability to track local government goals – such as reviewing procurement activities across different wards and sub-counties. These local relationships have become stronger as we built the portal and launched the tool together.
In the coming months, DG will continue working with the GMC to expand the portal to include implementation data, such as tracking community feedback. We also plan to increase interaction between the public and GMC procurement teams to further ensure portal use.
Last week’s launch was a huge step in increasing transparency and reducing corruption in sub-national procurement. With close granularity, local awareness, and goal tracking abilities, we plan to scale the open contracting portal across other counties in Kenya in the coming months, and integrate it with national level existing procurement data systems.
Figure 4: Tenders by Procurement Method – Open, Direct, Selective and Limited tenders
Figure 5: Share of Procurement Awards that qualify as Access to Government Procurement Awards (AGPO)
Building on the momentum in Makueni County, we look forward to building on what we’ve learned and continuing to progress towards competitive and transparent procurement processes in Kenya.
Keep an eye out for an upcoming post diving into the tech behind the Open Contracting Portal. If you’re interested in learning more about the Open Contracting Portal in Kenya, please contact Charlene Migwe email@example.com or Taryn Davis firstname.lastname@example.org. This work has been supported by the Hewlett Foundation and Hivos.