Corruption in public procurement harms the public interest, undermines public trust and has a negative impact on people’s lives. However, tackling effectively corrupt and fraudulent activities is a challenging task and requires a complex approach. Civil society as effective anti-corruption actor can give a valuable input in promoting transparency, accountability and preventing corruption.
Exploring innovative ways of improving efficiency in projects funded by EU funds, the European Commission's Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy and Transparency International have joined forces since 2015 to promote the use of Integrity Pacts (IP) as a tool to increase transparency and accountability, enhance citizens’ engagement and trust in public institutions, bring cost savings and improve competition and promote awareness and better understanding of public procurement.
The project ‘Integrity Pacts – Civil Control Mechanism for Safeguarding EU Funds’ covered 18 projects co-funded with cohesion policy funding in 11 Member States. The results will be widely disseminated in all Member States and we are already reflecting on how this experience can be scaled up in the context of the future long-term EU budget 2021-2027.
The initiative has been widely recognised as a success in bringing EU policies and administrations closer to citizens. It received the European Ombudsman’s Award for Good Administration 2019 in the category “Excellence in open administration.” The project was also included in the special G20 Compendium as a global good practice for promoting integrity and transparency in infrastructure development. It was also recognised as a best practice by the prestigious Stanford Social Innovation Review.The initiative is part of the broader action undertaken by the Commission in tackling fraud and corruption, as well as enhancing administrative capacity in the use of EU funds.
What is an Integrity Pact?
An Integrity Pact is a contract between a contracting authority and economic operators bidding for public contracts that they will abstain from corrupt practices and will conduct a transparent procurement process. To ensure accountability and legitimacy, an Integrity Pact includes a separate contract with a civil society organisation which monitors that all parties comply with their commitments.
An Integrity Pact has multiple objectives:
- To increase transparency, accountability and good governance in public contracting,
- To enhance trust in public authorities and contribute to their better reputation,
- To improve competition, promote cost efficiency and savings through better procurement.
Project ‘Integrity Pacts – Civil Control Mechanism for Safeguarding EU Funds, Phase 2’ – Latest News
The central activities of the project are:
- training and capacity building of selected CSOs to implement the project at country-level;
- development and signature of the IPs by selected CSOs and their respective public authorities;
- training and enhancement of knowledge of the relevant stakeholders, such as, contracting authorities, managing authorities, economic operators, on anti-corruption and transparency measures in the context of the IP approach;
- independent monitoring of the IPs, performed and/or coordinated by the CSOs;
- ensuring transparency and access to information related to the IP process and results for citizens in the participating EU Member States;
- periodic sharing and capturing of impact, lessons learned and best practices for project partners as well as the broader public.
The Transparency International Secretariat is ensuring the overall coordination of the project and coordinates the CSOs wperforming the role of IP monitor, quality assurance of project implementation at all levels, promotion and dissemination of the project results, necessary training and capacity building, capturing and dissemination of impact, lessons learned and best practices.
- List of shortlisted applicants
- Reserve list
- More on the Integrity Pacts from Transparency International
- Information on the awareness rising events
- Ombudsman awards Integrity Pacts as excellence in the field of open administration
- Integrity Pacts included in the G20 Compendium of good practices promoting integrity and transparency in infrastructure development
- Opening Public Contracting to Citizen Participation to Revitalize European Democracy (Stanford Social Innovation Review)