Step Up Consulting, with the support of HIVOS, and in partnership with the FOI – Project Management Office (FOI-PMO) of the GOP, conducted a research in 2019 to answer the following questions:
- What are the barriers that make the provision of contracting data difficult to FOI requesters?
- What are the gaps in data management systems and agency processes that hinder the provision of contracting data to potential users?
- What opportunities are available to improve people’s access to contracting data using the FOI mechanism?
One of the agencies selected for the case study research is the Department of Transportation (DOTr). The DOTr was selected because it is one of the top 10 agencies with the largest amount of budget and one of the top 10 agencies with the greatest number of FOI requests.
The research has identified five major challenges in making access to contracting data through the FOI program effective and efficient; (1) different agencies within the department are working in silos, (2) a comprehensive data inventory is not in place, and (3) absence of a centralized database , (4) Lack of a clear legal mandate and guidelines in the disclosure of contracting data, and (5) apprehension to disclose contracts.
The DOTr case study highlights at least three areas that are required for a successful FOI program – (1) clear and unambiguous guidelines, (2) a working data management system that serves the FOI function; and (3) an organizational culture that encourages transparency and accountability.
If you want to read the full report, please click here.