Online public procurement reporting provides a centralised website for the public to access information on public procurement. Information may relate to both the financial and non-financial performance status of procurement packages — both quantitative and qualitative in nature. Such reporting is often accompanied by information on the public procurement system including
procurement policies, regulations and guidelines within which procurement practitioners operate;
the responsibilities of different public organisations in the procurement process; and
public redress mechanisms such as whistleblower or corruption hotlines.
Online reporting is generally run by the finance ministry or equivalent responsible for the government procurement system. In specific situations it may also be hosted by the public organisation in charge of overseeing stimulus/recovery spending or post-disaster rehabilitation and reconstruction.
It is important to note that online reporting is not meant to duplicate existing reporting processes for contracting authorities. Rather, it provides a user friendly interface to access information on contracting authorities. Information is extracted from the government’s procurement systems. In cases of disaster, reconstruction may also include donor reporting—though the latter is made difficult because of different reporting formats.
Experience to date suggests that online procurement reporting has often been used in emergency situations, e.g. fiscal stimulus/economic recovery and natural disasters reconstruction programmes. Two examples include Indonesia and Australia respectively. In Australia, the Treasurer launched a website, Nation Building (www.economicstimulusplan.gov.au) in March 2009 to provide a one-stop shop for information on the Australian Government’s Economic Stimulus Plan.
In Indonesia, the National Development Planning Agency and Rehabilitation and Reconstruction Agency launched e-aceh-nias.org in March 2005 as a portal for the reporting and tracking of donor funds used in rehabilitation and reconstruction financing. In addition, information on government reconstruction funds was available on the Indonesian Ministry of Finance Special State Treasury Service Office’s website (www.danarrapbn.org/monitor/asp/laporan.asp, only available in Indonesian).
A few countries have launched more permanent procurement reporting and fund tracking systems for government expenditure for routine budget operations. The United States, for example, has launched USASpending.gov to make publicly available information on spending relating to all federal contracts. This can be searched by contractor, principal place of performance and contract authority. This is different to Recovery.gov that was launched by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board in July 2009 to provide information specifically on stimulus spending.
The functionality of online public procurement reporting varies significantly between countries. Information may be searchable by location, department, type of activity, contract size.