Ethics, integrity, probity and accountability are the cornerstones of good governance for any public or private entity that seeks to strengthen the trust and confidence of its clientele in its operations. This requires the development of a sound framework that encourages high standards of professionalism and stewardship to ensure that resources are used in the most economical and efficient manner and effective risk mitigation measures are adopted to prevent fraud, corruption and waste in all procurement activities.
Global Best Practice Group has developed a comprehensive toolkit that functions both as a diagnostic tool as well as a resource hub to develop policy and guidelines. It assists internal control and procurement staff to detect system and procedural weaknesses, inadequacies, lapses and non-compliance and suggests remedial action steps to plug inherent loopholes and reinforce vulnerable procedures. It provides policy makers and procurement personnel with detailed global best practices that can be customized and adopted by organizations to develop systems and processes that implement good governance principles at each step of the procurement cycle.
Global Best Practice Group’s proprietary toolkit PILLARS is a compendium of the best ethics and procurement practices and advisory guidelines that are used by international multilateral financial institutions, UN organizations, country level bilateral donors, philanthropic organizations and other public and aid agencies. These have been further strengthened by designing an interlinked architecture that is supported by 8 critical pillars that form the foundation.
Legal and regulatory framework
Focused Procurement organization and function
Institutional framework and management capacity
Strong Capacity of procurement staff
Operational capacity and market functionality
Control structure and integrity mechanisms
Reduced conflict of interest
Lack of opportunities for discretionary power
The pillars are essential to an entity seeking to mitigate risks to integrity in its procurement process. This is achieved through 8 ‘drivers’ that form the general operating principles for the implementation of the procurement process from needs assessment to contract management and payment. These are:
Arm’s length procurement
Improved bidding documents
Planning and enforcement
Improvement to process and work synergies
Improvement to procurement functions
Global Best Practice Group aims to provide the tool as a means of fulfilling international development goals within its identified thematic areas. The PILLARS tool, due to its customizable nature, has the ability to increase the success rate of international development objectives within distinct areas. It aims to do so by using a self-assessment model to identify areas of risk, where integrity failures could occur. Global Best Practice Group’s tool informs the various stakeholders in the procurement process about the potential risks to integrity that could be present in the process.
The tool is thus preventive in nature as it detects integrity risks and potential deficiencies before the process is enacted rather than after the event. The methodology that the tool employs entails creating a set of questions assigned to different components, allocating a considered weightage to each answer, and then aggregating the data in order to compare the final weightage results to parameters that were set at the beginning.
This aggregation of data then points towards areas which are at risk of experiencing an integrity failure. The system operates in a “red flag” or “traffic light” manner, in which the tool stops the process or informs the relevant stakeholders of the risk level attributed to a specific part of the procurement process. By implementing a system which shows ‘red flags’ before the process begins, we hope to mitigate risks to projects.
The toolkit has been extensively used by Global Best Practice Group’s consulting experts in different geographies for diverse organizations all of whom have benefitted from a strong internal control framework, transparency and accountability regime that has resulted in preventing integrity violations, conflict of interest issues, misuse and manipulation of information and fraud and theft of resources. It has resulted in greater trust and confidence that resources are being used for their allocated purpose in a fair, non-discriminatory and honest manner.