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 sub-national, local, and city-level Open Contracting (OC) initiatives and reforms. LOCI will work with champions and reforms in government, civil society and 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 play-field with fair competition for the private sector.
“One of our key learnings working with civil society and governments in the Open up Contracting program over the last years, is that there is huge potential for multi-actor approaches at the local level. We have seen great results when local actors from government, civil society and local private sector get together to exchange about the challenges they experience,” says Daniel Dietrich, Program Manager at Hivos Open Society programs. The added value of this exchange will be when the actors can jointly work towards local Open Contracting reforms, according to Dietrich.
“We see a huge potential in such local initiatives and believe that they can inspire others to set up similar initiatives. Such bottom-up Open Government Reforms can also influence national level processes and policy priorities. We see LOCI as a learning pilot, to jointly find out how local open contracting initiatives can succeed and mutually support each other. LOCI will be a pilot to better understand how Open Government and Open Contracting can be advanced and sustained at the local level, ” says Dietrich.
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 actual tangible results in better public service delivery. Linking aims to spark a more vigorous dialogue between sub-national and national governments and civil society from the global south and global north.
Building on a rich track record of experience and ongoing engagements, Hivos and partners will follow a five-step process of interlinked activities throughout the lifetime of the initiative:
- 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 sub-national 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 learnings (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.
In 2019, LOCI kicked off with a global linking and learning meeting on May 28th at a pre-event of the OGP Summit in Ottawa, Canada.
A packed day of inspiration, exchange and learning that followed a number of objectives:
- Initiate global linking and learning mechanism for sub-national, local, and city-level Open Contracting (OC) initiatives and reforms: The Local Open Contracting initiatives (LOCI);
- Share and learn from pioneers;
- Gather initial input from participants on their specific objectives, approaches, needs and challenges in different contexts. Inputs will feed into the user-needs assessment, and design of research;
- Establish initial learning and capacity development objectives;
- Get feedback on the design of LOCI to ensure it is truly demand-driven and responsive to participants needs.
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
Following a problem-driven and needs-based approach, we would kindly like to invite you to help us shape the pilot of the Local Open Contracting Initiatives (LOCI). We would be delighted if you were interested to join the LOCI global linking and learning process!
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Photo: LOCI kick off event 28 May, Ottawa, Canada.