OECD Recommendation

Apply oversight and control mechanisms to support accountability throughout the public procurement cycle, including appropriate complaint and sanction processes.

  • Establish clear lines for oversight of the public procurement cycle
  • Develop a system of effective and enforceable sanctions for government and private-sector procurement participants
  • Handle complaints on a fair, timely and transparent way
  • Ensure that internal controls (including financial controls, internal audit and management controls), and external controls and audits are coordinated, sufficiently resourced and integrated


Risks to public procurement related to accountability include:

  • Chain of responsibilities (including the type and level of responsibilities, assignment of roles and segregation of duties, the required knowledge and experience, the corresponding financial limits, and obligation of recording) are not always clearly defined by internal guidelines related to public procurement processes;
  • Public procurement processes can be the subject of complaints by potential suppliers; complaints need to be resolved in an efficient, timely and fair manner and final remedies have to be enforced;
  • Internal control functions (management controls, financial controls and independent internal audit assurance), external controls and audits are not always well coordinated or resourced, and may not have the necessary skills or criteria for effective oversight, which can create gaps or loopholes;
  • Control objectives are not always clearly defined and control reviews not always test periodically;
  • Expenditure controls are not always undertaken, even though they create a significant opportunity for procurement to stretch beyond cost savings and to deliver more strategic value to the organization and;
  • A system that creates “fear of consequences or risk aversion” can be less results-oriented.

Country Cases

Clear lines for oversight of the public procurement cycle 


System of effective and enforceable sanctions 


Handling of complaints in a fair, timely and transparent way 


Coordinated, sufficiently resourced and integrated internal controls, external controls and audits