The e-Government tools as democracy watchdogs: Public e-Procurement in the Czech Republic
|Author(s):|| PhDr. Mgr. Jana Gutiérrez Chvalkovská , |
PhDr. Ing. Jiří Skuhrovec PhD.,
|Type:||Article in collection|
|ISSN / ISBN:|
|Published in:||The 6th International Conference on e-Government Proceedings (peer reviewed)|
|Publishing place:||Cape Town, South Africa|
|Keywords:||public procurement, Transparency Index, efficient public control, open government, corruption|
|JEL codes:||H57, C43|
|Suggested Citation:||Chvalkovska, J., Markova, K., Skuhrovec, J. (2010): The e-Government tools as democracy watchdogs: Public e-Procurement in the Czech Republic, in The 5th International Conference on e-Government Proceedings (peer reviewed), Cape Town, South Africa|
|Grants:||GACR 403/10/1235 (2010-2014) Institutional Responses to Financial Market Failures IES Research Framework Institutional task (2005-2011) Integration of the Czech economy into European union and its development|
|Abstract:||The objective of this paper is to analyze the potential of e-Government tools to serve as instruments that enable the general public to control the activities of public institutions. This paper illustrates by means of quantitative analysis the watchdog potential of e-Government instruments on the example of the Czech Public e-Procurement Information System. This System is an electronic portal, where public authorities are obliged to announce their intention to purchase goods and services. In theory, these announcements published in a structured form on this portal are monitored by private entities that can submit their offers and compete thus for the respective public contract. To ensure fair competition and efficient governmental spending, the public procurement schemes should encompass a mechanism that would enable the general public to monitor and ensure the fairness of the public procurement. On the example of the Czech Public e-Procurement Information System we show that the conversion of an e-Government instrument into an effective tool of public control can be fairly simple – consisting only from more efficient and transparent use of data and information collected during the public procurement process, thus the e-Tendering role of the platform will be supplemented by the e-Informing aspect.
In our paper we used a web robot to collect data about public procurements from the Czech Public e-Procurement Information System and utilized them for construction of a composite Transparency Index of public institutions that award public contracts (so called contracting authorities). The Index reflects factors such as: transparency of the choice criteria, the share of contracts awarded by the contracting authority to an individual bidder or to a group of bidders, the difference between the total amount of money spent by the contracting authority on purchase of goods and services and amount of money spent in a transparent way using of the System, the share of money saved thanks to the use of electronic announcement of the public procurement on the total amount of public contracts awarded by the contract authority, the share of public contracts awarded to companies with undisclosed or dubious ownership and the share of public contracts awarded to new or ad hoc established companies on the total amount of public contracts awarded by the contracting authority, etc. The Index is construed from a weighted value of these factors, separately for each contracting authority. This Index could serve as an efficient benchmark for continuous control and comparison of public institutions in the area of public procurement and demonstrates how an e-Government tool can contribute to greater openness and accountability of these public institutions and to enhancement of the civic engagement in the control of governmental activities.
In our paper we aim at developing an original Transparency Index. The data used for construction of this Index were extracted from the Czech Public e-Procurement System. We believe that our research will substantially contribute to discussions concerning the role of e-Government tools in public control and Open Government initiatives.