It is at the local level where Open Government reforms, like Open Contracting, translate most directly into tangible results that matter to people, such as access to public education, healthcare, safe roads and clean drinking water. While local initiatives are emerging around the globe, they need a community of practice to address challenges and make reforms that last.
The Local Open Contracting Initiatives (LOCI) is a new global linking and learning mechanism for subnational, local, and city-level Open Contracting (OC) initiatives and reforms. LOCI will work with champions and reformers in government, civil society and the private sector to co-create and implement ambitious local OC initiatives. The overall goal of LOCI is to support actors in local OC initiatives striving to make public contracting more efficient, transparent and accountable to deliver better public goods and services, save money and create a level playing-field with fair competition for the private sector.
LOCI is coordinated by Hivos in collaboration with the Africa Freedom of Information Centre (AFIC), Development Gateway (DG), the Institute for Development of Freedom of Information (IDFI), Iniciativa Latinoamericana por los Datos Abiertos (ILDA), Young Innovations (YI), Open Contracting Partnership (OCP).
Through peer learning, evidence and practical guidance, the goal is to support actors to make their local OC initiatives more ambitious, improve transparency, accountability and effectiveness, to deliver tangible results in better public service delivery. Linking aims to spark a more vigorous dialogue between subnational and national governments and civil society from the global south and global north. LOCI will follow a staged and adaptive approach to linking and learning and will start working with a limited number of invited participants:
- Core participant group: 8-12 teams comprised of leading government and civil society representatives in existing local open contracting initiatives. These core participants will receive focused support and can be sponsored to participate in regional and international linking and learning activities as needed and funds allow.
- Extended Core participant group: The LOCI approach foresees the core group to grow as new local governments make commitments to new open contracting initiatives and join LOCI
- Wider participant group: All stakeholders relevant to advancing local open contacting reforms and initiatives. Participants in the wider participants group will be invited to join regional and international linking and learning activities at their own expense.
Building on a rich track record of experience and ongoing engagements, Hivos and partners will follow a five-step process of interlinked activities:
- Support actors and local multi-stakeholder processes to co-create and implement ambitious OC initiatives inside and outside OGP.
- Support peer learning between practitioners implementing OC initiatives at the local, national, regional and global levels. This includes peer learning between subnational and national governments and civil society from global south and global north countries.
- Support demand-driven capacity development and broker new innovative collaborations. In addition, we will build on Hivos’ and OCP’s ongoing activities on capacity development and field-building via a training-of-trainers program to build more local OC expertise both inside and outside government.
- Share and showcase sub national successes, challenges and lessons (using the OGP and other regional and international fora as platforms) to inspire others to engage and make new local OC commitments as part of OGP local action plans or via the National Action Plans (NAP) of their countries.
- LOCI will conduct research and have an adaptive learning process to create evidence on factors, strategies and good practice for successful and sustainable local OC reforms and produce practical guidance for others interested to take action.
- Capacity development: Increased capacities among governments and civil society to design, implement and sustain ambitious local OC initiatives;
- Learning: Enhanced understanding of how to develop and implement relevant, specific and ambitious reforms to open up contracting at local levels in the context of OGP processes, by government and civil society actors.
- Knowledge & Tools: Increased availability of resources responding to the needs of government and civil society practitioners to advance open contracting in the OGP context.
- Advocacy: Increased uptake & robustness of local open contracting reforms, evidenced by more ambitious and relevant commitments in OGP Action Plans
- Coalitions & Networks: An active and engaged thematic community advancing local open contracting reforms in the OGP context, globally and in-country.
The consortium aims to achieve the following Outcomes:
- Greater inclusion and civil society engagement in local OC initiative processes;
- More ambitious commitments to - and robust implementation of - local OC initiatives inside and outside the OGP framework by all stakeholders (government, private sector, civil society actors and people).
In 2019, LOCI kicked off with a global linking and lessons meeting at the OGP Summit in Ottawa, Canada. A user-needs assessment was conducted to understand the realities, contexts, interests, needs, and challenges of participants. This assessment was the starting point for continuous research and the design of regional linking and learning meetings, to facilitate peer learning and support, capacity development, and inspiring others at the regional levels.
Throughout the two-year lifetime of the LOCI pilot, consortium partners will work closely with inner circle participants to ensure support local multi-actor processes and aim to broker new collaborations, advice and support. In 2020 LOCI will convene a second global gathering to showcase and reflect on the progress made. The evidence create from research and learning from case studies will be shared to contribute to the field and enable others to advance on OGP priority areas such as open contracting.
Based on the emerging needs of local participants, the LOCI consortium and partners will aim to broker access to capacity development, expert advice and implementation support. However, it must be made clear that with the existing scope and funding, entirely depends on the ability of partners and can not be guaranteed by all means.
LOCI supports a community of practice that is based on respect, mutual support and trust. As such the initiative strives to provide an inspiring space to share and learn - not only from successes but also from mistakes and failures.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” - Margaret Mead