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Procurement and Service Delivery : An Overview of Efforts to Improve Governance of Public Procurement at Local Levels in South Asia(World Bank, Washington, DC, 2009-11-01) World BankOver the past decade, the overly centralized governance structures commonly found across South Asia have begun to change, with program and fiscal responsibility being devolved to local level government authorities and community-based organizations. This has led to greater participation of ordinary citizens in governance and public decision-making. The move to localize decision-making creates enormous opportunities for increasing the effectiveness of public spending since it creates the potential for establishing direct accountability of governance mechanisms to citizens. It also raises a number of significant challenges in ensuring that public funds are spent effectively at the local level, and provokes important new questions regarding the manner by which governments can maintain oversight over the quality of assets. This paper provides an overview of the activities supported under the project, with the aim of contributing to a broader perspective on improving governance and service delivery at the local level. The paper is divided into three parts. In part one the authors explore the challenges of spending money effectively at the local level, with a special focus on the governance challenges that exist in public procurement. In part two, the authors explore different approaches to addressing those challenges by discussing innovative work that has taken place with the support of the Project in the areas of regulation, contracting, transparency, and accountability. In part three, the authors analyze some broader themes and key questions that remain to be addressed while developing a strategic research and operational agenda around local level procurement.
Publication(Washington, DC, 2009-11-01) World BankWith the passing of the National Rural Employment Act (NREGA) in 2005, the Government of India established a landmark provision that enables communities to act as watchdogs on local level implementation of the Government's flagship anti-poverty program. While the concept of 'social audits' builds on a great deal of experience in the country, the provisions in the Act have not been translated into clear guidelines. As a result, social audits of NREGA have tended to be driven through 'high impact' approaches led by civil society organizations and have been focused on exposing malpractice rather than improving implementation. This paper discusses an initiative by the centre for youth and social development which sought to explore options to activate the social audit process in Orissa. The design draws on the provisions of the Act with a view to developing a sustainable model for the state. The pilot was conducted in six gram panchayats where the various stages of preparation, committee formation, auditing and reporting were developed. The paper highlights the importance of social audits as an instrument to support implementation, and in particular of raising awareness and ensuring clarity regarding the roles of various stakeholders. Taking this process forward demands a long term perspective, based on collaboration between the government and civil society that can develop the capacities of beneficiaries to ensure effective implementation at the local level.
Publication(World Bank, 2009-06-01) World BankThe Baseline Indicators (BLIs) assessment has been conducted by the Development Partners and the Government of Pakistan as a precursor to carrying forward the Government's efforts to upgrade the Country Procurement Systems (CPS) to international standards and to help it assess the level and type of technical assistance required for achieving this objective. The assessment, being the first phase of a comprehensive procurement performance assessment, covered the four pillars as well as all the indicators and sub-indicators in each pillar based on a review of the existing regulatory framework and the institutional and operational arrangements and as provided for in the Organization for Economic Development (OECD) Development Advisory Committee (DAC) guidelines. While the views expressed in the report were the subject of discussions at the stakeholders' workshop, they do not necessarily represent the views of the Government of Pakistan. The result indicates that compared to the standard required for a transparent, efficient and effective procurement system, the existing system in Pakistan needs to be improved substantially. The highest achieved rating is for pillar one, the legislative and regulatory framework, which is an amalgam of specific legislation and sub-legislation impacting the procurement activity of the government and the older legislative instruments affecting the overall operations of the public and/or the private sectors. The Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) is the apex body of the institutional framework (pillar two) governing the public procurement arena. The Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) was involved as a member of the Kazi committee to prepare a standard bidding document and standard General Conditions of Contract (GCC) for all engineering contracts. Improvements in improving the procurement market and operations (pillar three) can only happen when substantial progress has been achieved in reforming pillars one and two of the procurement framework. Integrity and efficiency in the public procurement system (pillar four) is the ultimate goal of all procurement systems and is not easily achieved. This, therefore, requires changes not only within the specific procurement related legislation, but also across a raft of other legislation to ensure an overall enabling environment. Coupled to this is the need to motivate decision makers and civil society to actively participate in ensuring the implementation of the revised legislation. This will require several years, but the effort could be started at an early stage of the reform process.