Open Government – Contracting Data

Author: 
John Sheridan - CIO & CISO

* Please note: The consultation period for comments on the OCDS review has now closed.

In November 2015, the Australian Government confirmed its membership of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) and commenced a consultation process to develop Australia’s first Open Government National Action Plan (NAP). In December 2016, the Government released its NAP, including a commitment to review its compliance of existing contract reporting with the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS). The OCDS is a data publication model for the publication of government contracting data, and is promoted by the Open Contracting Partnership, a collective international body which promotes the publication and use of open data.

Currently, a significant amount of this data is published via AusTender. AusTender provides the centralised publication of Australian Government business opportunities, annual procurement plans, multi-use lists and contracts awarded.

In order to complete the review, Finance engaged an independent contractor to determine the Commonwealth’s current compliance with the OCDS disclosure standards. Additionally, Finance asked the contractor to assess what information would be required to meet higher levels of disclosure in accordance with the OCDS, including consideration of the costs and associated risks with committing to a higher level of compliance.

Finance is now pleased to release the report for comment. Public comment will be open until Thursday 10 August 2017.

The results of the review are largely positive. The Australian Government is already compliant, in data terms, with approximately one third of the data field requirements of the OCDS. This compliance increases when considering some of the information already published in other online locations (such as directory.gov.au), or through means that aren’t explicit data releases (such as annual procurement plans on AusTender).

The remaining non-compliances relate to significant differences between the contracting data collected by the Australian Government and the OCDS, such as the collection and publication of unsuccessful tenderers, and the linking of data systems such as budget/planning data from the Budget Papers to released Australian Government business opportunities.

These sorts of changes would be a significant shift in the way contracting data is published, and accordingly would require a significant amount of investment and require consideration of the benefits of such data availability and any commercial or risk sensitivities associated with the publication of such information.

Finance encourages interested individuals to read the report and provide any commentary they wish to contribute via email to HaveYourSay.Procurement@finance.gov.au. All comments received will be collated and Finance will be providing the outcomes of the report, and any commentary received, to Government for its consideration.

Review of Commonwealth contracting against the Open Contracting Data Sta....docx

Review of Commonwealth contracting against the Open Contracting Data Sta....pdf

Schedule 1 - Review of AusTender procurement data against the Open Contr....xlsx

Regards

John

Last updated: 11 August 2017