Integrity pacts are anti-corruption tools for governmental authorities developed by Transparency International in the 1990s with the aim of reducing corruption in public contracting. The pact is, essentially, an agreement between a government or government department (at the national, sub-national or local level) and all bidders for public contract.
What are Anti-Corruption/ Integrity Pacts?
According to Transparency International (TI), Integrity Pacts are tools to combat corruption at the tendering and contract stage of procurement. They bind all the bidders and the government together in a contract to reduce the possibility of corruption occurring both during and after the tendering.
A defence Integrity Pact usually contains three main features:
- A short contract in which all bidders and the procuring organisation agree to certain specified, non-bribery pledges and to enhanced disclosure rules. They also agree on sanctions, including withdrawal from the tender;
- An independent monitor, accompanied by an independent technical expert who reviews tender documents and deals with bidders concerns and complaints;
- Mechanisms to enhance public transparency of documents and processes. This also strengthens public confidence by involving the civil society.
Why is it important?
As TI emphasises, integrity pacts are important as they supplement weak laws by making contractual requirements aimed at preventing and avoiding corrupt practices that could otherwise compromise the security sector capacity building process and put scarce public resources to waste. They also attract more bidders, give them more confidence, and provide independent monitoring and technical scrutiny. Integrity Pacts can reduce the high cost and distorting impact of corruption on public procurement, and help create a more hospitable investment climate and harvest public support. Integrity Pacts reinforce sanctions, thereby deterring corruption.
How does it work?
Integrity pacts stipulate rights and obligations to the effect that neither side will: pay, offer, demand or accept bribes; collude with competitors to obtain the contract; or engage in such abuses while executing the contract. The starting point is an agreement for the implementation of the pact between the government and a civil society organisation responsible for monitoring the pact. This agreement confirms the political will to implement the pact, defines the contracting process, and describes the activities, roles, and responsibilities of each of the parties involved. Transparency is required at every stage of the process. The content of the integrity pact should be agreed upon by civil society organisations and the government.
TI lists some of the core components of integrity pacts as follows:
- Pledge and undertakings by bidders not to offer or accept bribes
- Pledge and undertakings by the Government, their consultants and advisers not to offer or accept bribes
- Restrictions on government officials from obtaining work at bidding firms or their partners for a certain period after the bid (at least two years)
- Disclosure of details of agents or intermediaries (bidders are required to disclose all commissions and expenses that are paid by them to other entities in relation to the contract)
- May require disclosure of payments to and from the agent
- Bidders are advised to have a Code of Conduct and a compliance programme
- Appointment of independent monitor or monitoring team with unrestricted access to all meetings and material, documents
- Publication of some or all the documents and of the results of evaluations
- Public hearings and discussions on the bid
- Bidders must agree to withdraw if there is evidence of breach of the pledge
- Further sanctions such as exclusion from bidding for future contracts
- Civil society involvement should be encouraged
One of the main features of an integrity pact is independent monitoring. In most cases, monitors are members of civil society or experts appointed by (and reporting to) the TI Chapter and its civil society partners. The independent monitoring system aims to ensure that the pact is implemented and the obligations of the parties are fulfilled.
Who is involved?
Integrity pacts involve and can be used by central, local or municipal government officials and agencies, private companies (the bidders) and civil society.
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