Slovenia is slated to join Ukraine as the only public administrations that will routinely monitor contract overspend on all public contracts. What's more, they're doing it in the open. Legislation is currently being passed to mandate the publication of contract identifiers for every item of spending across government.
The initiative will create the most advanced open contracting initiative in the world, providing a new benchmark for data quality and analysis that will be a case study for others to follow.
Once implemented, the Public Procurement Service will be able to monitor how much spend is going through each contract and will be able to spot when spending exceeds the initial budget or whether budget discipline is broken. Over time it will be possible to spot the most common offenders, both buyers and suppliers, and whether contracts are routinely extended.
The data will also create useful insight into the activities of buyers, who will undoubtedly have an incentive to inflate initial estimates of contract values in order to prevent being reported for overspending. How much inflation will occur remains to be seen, but those who earn from public contracts face greater scrutiny than ever before.
We shall be watching with interest.
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