Posted 12 January, 2017 by Paola Verhaert

We’re researching the responsible data challenges of open contracting

Open contracting data is important – but how can it be done responsibly?

We’re excited to share that from now until the end of 2017, we’ll be working with Hivos’ Open Contracting Programme to develop a set of responsible data guidelines to help strengthen their open contracting work.

Responsible data meets Open Contracting

Our work will be driven by questions surrounding issues like the inclusion of potentially sensitive data in open contracts, the implication of including private individuals’ information, identifying ethical concerns around open contracting data, and thinking about what open contracting data might be used for.

With this project, we will be building upon the work of the Open Contracting Partnership in the ongoing work they’ve been doing looking into confidentiality issues in contracting data. We’re also looking learn from organisations such as Oxfam who have developed their own Responsible Data policies. Our goal with this work is to develop practical and implementable guidance for Hivos’ staff and country partners, but we hope that what we learn might also be useful for others within the open contracting ecosystem.

With our work, we’ll be looking to learn from Hivos staff and partners, as well as the broader open contracting community about the grey areas they face when it comes to planning, implementing and actually working with open contracting. We’ll be looking for specific cases of where responsible data issues have come up in the past, and speaking to people to learn from their experiences and ideas on these issues.

Looking ahead

The potential of open contracting is huge: Countries all over the world have begun realising the potential of open contracting, as its use has led to better deals for governments, a level playing field for businesses, improved public integrity, and quality goods and services for citizens. We’re keen to work with Hivos and the broader community to make sure that potential benefits all, and does no unintended harm.

We look forward to diving in more to the open contracting community and learning from you all over the next few months. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on  if you are interested in talking to us about responsible data in open contracting, or if you know of any use cases or resources you believe we should be looking at.

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