Yesterday we hosted “Unseal the Deal! How open contracting can improve your city’s procurement process,” a webinar with our partners from the Open Contracting Partnership (OCP), the Harvard Kennedy School’s Government Performance Lab (GPL), and the City of Glendale, Arizona to discuss how open contracting can help cities get more bids, better bids, more contractors, and better outcomes—all while mitigating risks of corruption and improving trust and integrity—through an open approach to procurement.
The webinar discussion included a general overview of open contracting (including Sunlight and OCP’s research and policy guidelines), tips for how to do it well, and how Sunlight and GPL worked with the City of Glendale to make their contracting more open, as part of What Works Cities. You can read more about our open contracting project with Glendale, our Tactical Data Engagement approach, OCP’s Open Contracting Data Standard and approach to defining open contracting use cases, as well as GPL’s results-driven contracting model.
Open contracting might sound technical but—like so many parts of city government work—making it more collaborative can make it more efficient as well as effective. Transparency in contracting practice is essential for building the public’s trust in the projects where governments are spending money — opening data around contracting can help vendors and residents together keep governments accountable.
“Often times procurement is seen as a formality and a back-of-office function and it’s not,” Jean Moreno, Executive Officer for Strategic Initiatives & Special Projects at the City of Glendale said near the end of the event. “It can be a very powerful tool for your community.”
Thank you to everyone who joined us for this event and contributed to the robust discussion of the ideas. To learn about future webinars on everything related to city open data and community engagement, subscribe to the Open Cities mailing list and you’ll be the first to know.