Open Data to Fight Corruption: Health Sector
About the chapter:
Transparency Slovakia works to reduce corruption and increase the transparency of institutions. It scrutinises the powerful, pushes for solutions and engages people in public scrutiny. It’s vision is to work towards a Slovakia with responsible-minded citizens and open institutions without corruption.
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Theory of Change
Policy & Insititutional ChangeBetter Institutional Processes
This case study published by TI Slovakia aims to provide guidance to policy-makers and activists in a diverse range of countries on how specific data sets can used to prevent, detect and investigate corruption.
An investigation of procurement data by TI Slovakia revealed that many criteria of open data are not being met or are only partially fulfilled when it comes to data sets related to fighting corruption. Recognising and correcting these shortfalls is a critical step towards ensuring that open data promotes positive changes for society and in people’s lives.
TI Slovakia has created and analysed a portal that draws on the various sources of procurement data published by the government, allowing for a closer investigation of the data to flag possible cases of corruption.
The Open Public Procurement portal (http://tender.sme.sk) captures contracts dating back to 2009 and covers over 36,000 contracts worth more than €47 billion.
- TI Slovakia linked the public procurement and business registry data sets and identified two major public procurement scandals around catering and construction in the healthcare sector.
- Healthcare procurement data must be accessible: It must be free to use and reuse, published in a timely manner and easily found.
- Healthcare procurement data must be accurate: It must be comprehensive and reflective of reality.
- Healthcare procurement data must be intelligible: It must be structured in a way that can be analysed (e.g. clear and consistent columns, values and formats).
- Healthcare procurement data must be meaningful: It must be useful to the user.
Open data is a key requirement for achieving progress in the fight against corruption. This is one of the reasons that the Group of 20 (G20) – which includes the most economically and politically powerful countries in the world – has opted to adopt open-data principles to help promote public integrity and reduce corruption.
This move reflects a growing trend toward the increased publication and availability of open data – data that is freely shareable, comparable, released and usable (both legally and technically).
The international Open Data Charter and specific national initiatives have attempted to create a common foundation to accelerate this process.
Yet a lot of important and useful government data remains locked up. According to the Worldwide Web Foundation, 90 per cent of the 86 countries surveyed provide scant information on data related to government budgets, public contracts and public services (such as health and education).This shows a continued trend, first found in a survey by the Open Knowledge Foundation in 2013.
The coming years will be critical to ensure that policies and practices are in place to maximise the use of open data to fight corruption.
- Demonstrate the power of open data by putting it to work.
- Develop a parallel site to the government’s open-data portals to amass data around specific topic areas in order to allow for a more in-depth analysis.
- Utilise government scandals to push for legal reform efforts.
- Recognise the momentum that change can generate.