Open Contracting Peer-Coaching and Mentorship Program
Every third dollar spent by government is with a private company to deliver vital goods, works and services to citizens. This procurement - amounting to some US$9.5 trillion every year or 12% global GDP - is the bricks and mortar of public benefit.
The past four years have seen a surge in open contracting reforms and efforts from diverse champions from government, companies, civil society, journalists and academia. Yet, one of the biggest challenge has been to help in-country champions achieve measurable and systemic impact.
Given the enormous size of the global procurement market, the surge in demand for open contracting and the needed focus on impact, the Open Contracting Partnership is looking to design and launch a peer coaching/mentorship program. The aim of the program is to capacitate champions to implement open contracting projects that lead to measurable results in terms of better value for money, improved public integrity, greater market opportunity, increased internal efficiency or better quality goods and services. The program will provide a range of support services to these champions from empowering them with technical, change management and organizational skills to connecting them to each other for peer-learning.
We are looking for an organizational partner or a consortium of partners (with a lead organization) to design and implement this process with us.
The Open Contracting Partnership’s mission is: (1) to achieve deep and widespread impact from public contracting through standardized open data, feedback loops and systemic reforms and (2) to build a self-sustaining field of open contracting champions from the public, private and civil society sectors to embed open contracting in global policy and practice.
We are four years in into our journey of achieving this mission and we have had a lot of success. We had enormous momentum through securing commitments to open contracting - over 30 governments have committed to implement open contracting. We have also made good progress in helping more government agencies to open up their contracting processes and data - over 25 countries are working on implementing the standard and 15 government agencies publish. We’ve also seen some remarkable impact in countries like Ukraine, Colombia, and Paraguay.
Despite these successes, our biggest challenge has been to help in-country champions achieve measurable and systemic impact. Impact refers to a range of positive changes that result from opening up contracting for both the implementers of open contracting (usually governments) as well as those affected by these implementations (such as private sector, civil society, journalists, academics, and citizens). These impacts include, but aren’t limited to: 1. Better value for money; 2. Improved public integrity; 3. Greater market opportunity; 4. Increased internal efficiency; 5. Better quality goods and services. We can point to a handful of powerful cases where we have been able to show that (c.f. Ukraine, Colombia and Paraguay impact stories) - where openness and redress in procurement led to tangible and measurable results.
Impact can take many forms, and often starts with identifying and using open contracting principles to solve a specific problem. In certain cases, solving one or more specific problems can blossom into more systematic change such as the five impacts listed above. Based on these cases and global research, we constructed a non-comprehensive list of sample indicators that put intended impacts into measurable terms and allow for the monitoring of progress towards each of the five impacts listed above. To achieve our mission we need many more impact cases. Many governments seem much more focused on outputs, rather than outcomes, which can lead to transparency for transparency’s sake. This then leads to difficulty in measuring impact and sustaining change, as there are no clear baselines or culture of measurement. We are looking to increase our support of projects that have clear potential for either solving a specific problem or producing system-level impacts.
To change this and achieve our mission, we now want to double down on results and get much better at supporting reformers to articulate, pursue and track progress against impact goals. We see a coaching program as one of the strategies to accelerate how open contracting can lead to impact and field building.
Our aim is to find an experienced organization partner or consortium of partners to design this program with us based on practitioners needs.
The Peer-Coaching/Mentorship Program
Objectives The objective of this program is to equip open contracting practitioners with the needed skills, tools and resources to gain value from open contracting projects and to help them navigate the politics and vested interests that they will need to overcome to get to real impact.
Up until now OCP has predominantly provided support services and cheerleading to reformers, together with a handful of other organizations and companies that can provide sound technical data and change management advise on open contracting. As open contracting has gained traction rapidly with many local-led exciting innovations but also tough challenges, we believe the time is right now to facilitate more sustained peer-mentorship and coaching across practitioners.
OCP does also not want to become an ‘implementer of last resort’ and be one of only a few organizations that can assist reforms with open contracting skills, tools and resources. We want to help build a cadre of individuals and organizations that can support actors on the ground with wide-ranging services and skills, from navigating political economy challenges to publishing and using high-quality data to defining and tracking performance indicators.
We believe this program can help begin build this cadre and help our whole field to jump scale. We envision a ‘multiplier’ effect from this program where first the vendor/lead organization with partners significantly strengthen their open contracting capacities and then, in turn, can enhance capacities of other implementers.
We also see this program as a huge learning and improvement opportunity for the whole field of open contracting. Practitioners will be able to learn from each other, support providers will learn from practitioners and vice versa. We will be able to see patterns and trends in terms of implementation challenges and solutions. Through this program, with the selected vendor, we want to document these insights, use them to continuously improve program design and delivery and most importantly share them with the field so that everyone can do their open contracting work smarter.
We have some emerging ideas about what the program could entail that we want to fine-tune with the selected vendor. We believe the first step should be a needs and capacity assessment of potential participants to design the program around their needs. The assessment should also look at which similar programs are currently being offered in order to determine whether this should be a stand alone effort or be integrated into existing programs.
The specific scope of the program should be designed based on the assessment but for now, we envision that the coaching program will support practitioners with a mix of the following:
Change management & project design/iteration: Support to design goal driven reform strategies with clear problem statements and theory of changes, guidance to navigate political, resource and other challenges and to continuously adjust these strategies based on changing circumstances and learning.
Coalition building: Guidance to engage diverse stakeholders from the public, private, civil society and other sectors and build sustainable reform coalitions for effective feedback loops and local advocacy.
Technical data and tooling: Assistance to implement the Open Contracting Data Standard for the reform specific goals and developing/maintaining needed data systems, policies and tools.
Learning and monitoring: Guidance to design and manage simple but effective project plans with clear learning, monitoring and evaluation components that inform project designs and adjustments and have clear measurable baselines.
Communications: Support to document and communicate progress, challenges and learning with a focus on storytelling.
Organizational effectiveness: Assistance to build up needed internal capacities in terms of project, strategy, financial, team management, etc; guidance on how to work with limited resources and prioritize the most impact-oriented activities; support to develop plans to sustain projects after this programs end.
We expect that the program will use a range of approaches to deliver this support, such as intense one-on-one mentoring, expert advice, group learning, peer/co-working, etc. We assume that parts of the program will be delivered face-to-face while other support will be executed through remote assistance. We are open to explore whether this program could be integrated into existing mentoring programs or should be set up as a new effort. We want to conduct a scoping assessment to gain more clarity on this.
We see that the program could focus on a selected number of projects and provide them very intense support to move towards impact. Alternatively the program could have different support categories or tiers where a larger group of practitioners will receive light support and opportunities for peer-learning and a smaller group will receive tailored, intense coaching tied to progress. Structuring these aspects of the program is one of the most important aspects that we want to co-design with the selected vendor.
In addition to coaching and networking support, the program could also provide funding to participants. Designing who can receive financial support, how much and when will be an important aspect of this consultancy.
We are open to the length of this program but assume that it would run for a minimum of 18 months. We assume that this will be a global program that is open to practitioners from all regions. We assume that at least part of the program will need to be delivered in Spanish and French.
We don’t expect all projects and practitioners supported by this program to make equal progress. We fully anticipate a fail and slower progress rate. We will work with the selected vendor to develop realistic targets for the program. We believe that the program will be successful if by the end we will have:
Open contracting projects that have demonstrated measurable impact in terms of better value for money; improved public integrity; greater market opportunity; increased internal efficiency; better quality goods and services or other other impacts.
Diverse coalitions of actors work on these open contracting projects and have established constructive dialogues and mechanisms (i.e. feedback loops) to improve and fix contracting outcomes.
Organizations executing these projects have enhanced capacities to design and execute reforms, publish and use open procurement data, measure, document and communicate progress, engage in iterative learning, develop and implement effective organizational strategies.
Participating practitioners and their organizations have strong connections to each other and the broader field and continue to engage in peer-learning and support.
What we need help with
We are searching for a vendor (either an individual organization or a consortium with a lead organization) to design and run this program with us.
The vendor will:
Support us in designing a program that delivers on our objectives:
Conducts a short needs assessments and engage in user research that will inform the design of the program.
Lead the OCP team through a design process to articulating the specifications and objectives of the program. As part of this process help us define new types of impact and innovative ways to track milestones towards impact;
Based on the assessment, help us design the components and structure of the program, such as tiers of support or a funnel approach, as well as an incentive structure that projects that show more progress get more support;
Formulating simple but effective application criteria and process;
Design a monitoring, learning and evaluation (MEL) process with indicators;
Articulating how the financial support (if applicable) to participants will work;
Pulling together background and resource materials for applicants;
Design peer-mentoring, coaching and networking support to enable the organizational and individual growing for applicants;
Build up capacities of all program delivery partners, especially on the more technical OCDS side, to ensure that the program is delivered at high-quality.
Execute the program efficiently and effectively, including:
Manage and run the program with support from the OCP team (we expect that ⅔ of the needed work will be done by the vendor and ⅓ by OCP);
Prepare communications materials and managing communications related to the program. We expect that parts of the program will run in English, French and Spanish;
Coordinate the selection process and communication of results to the entire community;
Coordinate and delivering an extensive coaching and peer-support process for the participants;
Execute the MEL plan;
Create spaces for engagement and sharing between teams throughout the program.
Capture learning and impact and document emerging approaches and tools from the different projects and reforms so that they can regularly be used to inform program design and delivery and also be shared with the field.
The program could run for 18 to 24 months. We are open to determine the appropriate length with the vendor.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out to Kathrin Frauscher at Kfrauscher@open-contracting.org. We will share the questions that are being asked anonymously on Screendoor so that everyone can get a better understanding of the program. We are also happy to have calls with interested vendors. Please email Kathrin if you want to set up a call.
Proposals will be evaluated against four criteria: Relevant experience: 30% Proposal content: 30% Budget: 20% Languages and communication skills: 20%
OCP's open contracting policies for award information In line with our open contracting policy, we will publish contracting information related to this opportunity. Once contracts are awarded, we will publish notices that include: