On Saturday 7th March 2020, the tenth Open Data Day took place with people around the world organising over 300 events to celebrate, promote and spread the use of open data. Thanks to generous support from key funders, the Open Knowledge Foundation was able to support the running of more than 60 of these events via our mini-grants scheme.
Bolivia is one of the two South American countries (the other is Venezuela) that has not debated, approved and promulgated an Access to Public Information Law. The right of access to public information allows other states to promote a culture of open information and mitigates the culture of secrecy, it also provides better guarantees for the exercise of citizen rights.
We feel that Bolivia’s public procurement system is a mechanism that the state should use to make transparent the use of public resources and get closer with citizens establishing instruments of access to information that make public management more efficient and public officers more responsible towards citizens. The resources destined for Public Purchases and Procurement should be published in open data formats and ensuring their accessibility for different types of audiences.
However, the Bolivian public procurement portal does not release standardised data, the information generated on public procurement is concentrated in the procurement system SICOES and the data that incorporated in the website was published in any format not allowing to be analysed immediately.
According to SICOES, 2018 saw the publication of 32,248 public procurement tenders for works, services and consulting published on the website of which 4,144 were contracted. In addition, the Ministry of Economy and Public Finance states that 26% of the total spending in the 2018 General State Budget was on services adding up to a total of 12 million bolivianos, equivalent to $1,753,920 USD.
For Open Data Day, CONSTRUIR Foundation promoted our Data Camp as an event to open public contracting at the municipality level. The first part of the event included presentations about opening public procurement data and Wikipedia projects to provide a common source of open data that can be used and stored in Wikidata.
In the next part of the event, the participants worked in the Data Camp methodological approach to create collaborative groups to open and analyse data on public contracting purchases from different municipalities. Once in groups, the 47 participants used the Open Contracting Data Standard to structure available public procurement data from six municipalities in the Department of La Paz in Bolivia.
As a result of the activities, the participating youth organisations exchanged experiences and strengthened knowledge about open data, the right of access to public information, public procurement and generating tools for opening public contracts for the social control of public spending.
Finally, the databases resulting from the opening process of public procurement at the municipal level will be part of the Municipal Public Procurement Observatory of Bolivia promoted by the CONSTRUIR Foundation and which will be available to be consulted in May on the website: www.fundacionconstruir.org