Open Contracting

Have you ever wondered how much your city spends on school lunches? What about services for the homeless? Cities spend billions of dollars every year on goods and services that residents care about, and yet sometimes they are left in the dark when it comes to important questions about who is being paid, what is being procured, and how much is being spent.

The Sunlight Foundation has looked at best practices in making this contract data more open and transparent to help reduce corruption in the procurement process, improve government effectiveness, and allow for more accountability and oversight in the process.

Nowhere is this more important than in municipal procurement. Cities opening and sharing information about their acquisition needs, contract process, and the performance of their vendors will help to improve their communities by building greater trust in government spending. It will also increase opportunities for potential vendors by lowering barriers to identify relevant bids and understanding the government’s decision-making in contract awards. Finally, it makes the internal planning and preparation process more effective as well by having access to timely information across government agencies.



Local open contracting policy guidelines

Sunlight and the Open Contracting Partnership have produced a set of simple, practical guidelines for local procurement officials to consider as they develop their own contracting data release programs. Real world cases highlight best practices from 22 North American cities, drawing on interviews conducted with municipal staff across the U.S., Mexico City, and Montreal. See the guide ››


Piloting reforms in Los Angeles and Philadelphia

Sunlight conducted pilots to test strategies for open contracting reforms in two U.S. cities, Los Angeles and Philadelphia. The cities aimed to publish open contracting data and engage communities to inform reforms to procurement processes to better meet residents’ needs. Transparency, accountability, and accessibility of contracting information are critical to keep businesses, officials, and community advocates apprised of how local governments do business. Learn more about the pilot projects ››


Guide to open contracting reform

Sunlight and the Open Contracting Partnership produced a guide to implementing human-centered open contracting reforms in collaboration with City governments. Civil society advocates, procurement professionals, and local government staff can learn from lessons generated through on-the-ground technical assistance pilots. See the guide >>

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