Testing MAPS in a small country context

Joint Assessment of Five Countries in the Eastern Caribbean

Normally, public procurement accounts for a large share of gross domestic product (GDP) – 12% in OECD area –, but in some contexts, like in small island states or developing economies, public procurement can take up a considerably larger share of GDP than elsewhere – beyond the 20% in international estimates. This highlights the importance of public procurement in delivering essential public services, especially in contexts of scarce resources and limited fiscal space.

The recently revised Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems (MAPS) from 2018 provides a holistic assessment framework by establishing the criteria of an effective and efficient procurement system that countries should strive to achieve. As this project demonstrates, MAPS is relevant for all countries and can provide opportunities for reform notably in contexts of constrained capacity and resources.

Five Eastern Caribbean countries, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Virgin Islands, were included in this public procurement reform project, sponsored by the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB). The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) was commissioned with the assessment of the public procurement systems in these countries by applying the MAPS and performed the project management. An assessment team composed of OECD and CDB experts and international consultants conducted the assessment, and executed the field missions and interviews needed for the project. Expert peer review was provided by the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the World Bank, and the CARICOM Secretariat, as members of the individual Technical Advisory Group set up for this project. The project is part of a broader CDB public administration reform project in the Caribbean Region and dovetails with a DFID-funded and World Bank-executed procurement reform project covering Dominica, Grenada, Saint Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

The primary objective of the assessment was to conduct a thorough, external assessment of the national public procurement systems, in order to reveal strengths and weaknesses, by benchmarking the systems with the MAPS indicators and assessment criteria based on international good practices and standards. The findings of the assessment serve has an input to the next phase of the CDB project, aiming at developing action plans to improve and reform public procurement in the five countries. This MAPS assessment has a second function of serving as a testing exercise in support of the revision of the MAPS, applying the new methodology for the first time in a small island developing country context.

Fast Facts


Countries: Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Virgin Islands, part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS)

©Adrien Coquet/The noun project Timeframe: February 2018 – October 2019
©Shashank Singh/ The Noun project


  • Anguilla: Procurement Office in the Ministry of Finance
  • British Virgin Islands (BVI): Ministry of Finance
  • Antigua and Barbuda: Ministry of Finance and Corporate Governance
  • St. Kitts and Nevis: Department of Economic Affairs and Public Sector Investment Planning (PSIP) in the Ministry of Sustainable Development
  • Montserrat: Ministry of Finance and Economic Management
©The Icon Hero/Noun Project

Areas of focus:

List of Deliverables

  • Five MAPS Assessment Reports were published
  • Highlights documents were created summarising the overarching project findings
  • Two rounds of workshops were held, the first to present methodology, launch the project, and conduct fact-finding, the second to both discuss and validate the findings


  • March 2018: Kick-off meeting (remotely via video conference)
  • June 2018: Fact-finding mission to the Caribbean region
  • Summer / Fall 2018: Preparation of reports, review by the technical advisory group
  • September 2018: Workshop to discuss preliminary results, Washington, DC, USA
  • March 2019: Validation workshops in all countries
  • Autumn 2019: Finalisation of reports, publication forthcoming

Content of the project

Economic and political context in the Eastern Caribbean

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, and the Virgin Islands, are small island countries in the Eastern Caribbean, part of a number of islands commonly known as Leeward Islands. All of them have their own legal system, derived from the British one, and thus use common law. Anguilla, Montserrat, and the Virgin Islands are British Overseas Territories. Under British sovereignty, the three countries are internally self-governing. Antigua and Barbuda and St. Kitts and Nevis are sovereign states, which gained independence in the 1980s.

Key Findings

The procurement systems in the five OECS countries have strengths and weaknesses in all areas of the public procurement system, evidencing reform progress achieved in recent years. However, substantive challenges remain. The countries face common challenges in all pillars of the MAPS methodology, but also have opportunities to find inspiration and a clear roadmap for successful solutions..

  • Pillar I: Legal, Regulatory and Policy Framework

A few countries have established strong legal and regulatory frameworks, complying with a range of assessment criteria in the MAPS. Several countries, however, have not enforced a clear legal framework for public procurement, failing to follow on previously agreed reforms. Some countries have developed successful procurement tools such as guidance and templates, while others do not use these tools at all. Using public procurement to address broader policy objectives are generally not considered.

  • Pillar II: Institutional Framework and Management Capacity

Generally, the procurement and financial management systems are not well integrated. Use of e-procurement remains limited, with some positive exceptions. Basic functions are established, but some countries have yet to put core institutions into operation. Often, responsibilities for functions of the procurement system are not clear. Generally, the countries do not have capacity to monitor procurement performance, to develop their procurement systems and professionalisation of the procurement workforce is not considered.

  • Pillar III: Public Procurement Operations and Market Practices

Review of a limited number of procurement files revealed challenges primarily related to procurement planning and contract management. Some countries have developed procurement practices that allow contracting authorities to procure with a considerable level of value for money. However, these practices are not widespread. Lacking formal mechanisms for engagement, suppliers are largely not involved in public procurement decisions.

  • Pillar IV: Accountability, Integrity and Transparency of the Public Procurement System

In all countries, the transparency of public procurement is limited. Civil society is usually not involved in any public procurement procedures. Judicial challenge mechanisms are in place, but administrative procedures and remedies are generally not in place. The countries have different levels of compliance with indicators on audit. All countries have some elements of an anti-corruption framework in place. However, there is limited specific consideration of integrity in public procurement, for example concerning integrity training.

Outputs and resources


Assessment reports on the MAPS website


Methodology for Assessing Procurement Systems