Commitment 8: Improve Transparency of Government Service Providers

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Government will improve transparency of organisations delivering services on its behalf, whether they are funded by grant or contract for service.

Objective: To increase the release of data, preferably machine readable data, on organisations delivering services on the Government’s behalf. This will include audited financial data, compliance data and on-going performance delivery data.

Status quo: The Government established the Office of Government Procurement (OGP) in 2013 to deliver better value and sustainable savings for the taxpayer, integrate procurement policy, strategy and operations, enable consistency and standardise the approach to public procurement, deliver broader policy goals in a consistent fashion and strengthen procurement spend analytics and data management. The legislative provisions of the EU Procurement Directives provide for the publication of tender and award notices for contracts above the applicable EU thresholds. However, the Office of Government Procurement has gone further to promote greater openness and transparency and the policy is that buyers are required to publish tender and award notices for contracts above €25k for goods and services and €50k for works on eTenders.

In Ireland, billions of Euro are dispersed every year by the Government to non-profit bodies to deliver services that in other jurisdictions are often delivered directly by the state. In relation to grant funded services, each grantor collects detailed compliance and performance data but it is generally not published at an individual grantee organisation level. In 2014, the Department of Public Expenditure and Reform published a Circular (13/2014) to improve the management of and accountability for grants from exchequer funds. In 2015 the Government co-funded Benefacts.ie to centralise, digitise and publish all regulatory data on all non-profits in Ireland. While Benefacts has greatly improved transparency, it is based solely on audited regulatory filings and does not include compliance or performance data collected by grantors.

Ambition: We will assess the appropriateness of standard transparency clauses for all large service contracts and grant agreements in an Irish context. We will identify the improvements required in data infrastructure and compliance practices to facilitate the proactive release of data on all large service contracts and grant agreements, as appropriate.

Lead implementing organisations: Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Timeline: June 2018

Commitment 8:

Improve transparency of government service providers

OGP values

Access to information, Public accountability, Technology and innovation

New or ongoing commitment

New

Lead implementation organisations

Department of Public Expenditure and Reform

Other actors involved - government

Department of Health, Department of Education,

Department of Defence, Local Government sector.

All government departments that, directly or indirectly, grant fund organisations to deliver services on their behalf.

Verifiable and measurable milestones to fulfil the commitment

New or ongoing

Start date

End date

Undertake a strategic assessment of contracting data infrastructure and contracting transparency compliance practices to identify changes required to:

deliver data to the Open Contracting Partnership’s Open Contracting Data Standard Intermediate level, and

be able to deliver on the requirements of a standard transparency clause in all large service contracts if such a clause were to be implemented

New

Jan 2017

June 2018

Assess the impact of transparency clauses in other jurisdictions, and consult with public bodies and industry representatives on the introduction of a standard transparency clause in order to inform a final decision on implementation of a standard transparency clause in service contracts.

New

Jan 2017

June 2018

Undertake a strategic assessment of grant funding data infrastructure and grant funding compliance practices to identify changes required to:

deliver data equivalent to the Open Contracting Partnership’s Open Contracting Data Standard Basic level

be able to deliver on the requirements of a standard transparency clause in all major grant agreements

New

Jan 2017

Sept 2017

Consult with public bodies and grant funded bodies on the introduction of a model transparency clause in order to inform a final decision on implementation of a standard transparency clause in grant agreements.

New

Jan 2017

June 2018

Quarterly Metrics Report for each department
I propose that each department and eventually all public sector organisations prepare a standardised quarterly metrics report. They can decide what metrics to include related to their work and they are asked to submit then on a regular basis. The public should then be able to visit a single website...