Digital Buying Guide sets benchmark for next-generation procurement

Digital Buying Guide launched today at the OECD E-Leaders Forum aims to make public procurement fair, open and transparent.


The step-by-step guide will help the public sector to choose the right technologies, work efficiently with suppliers, deliver value for money, and encourage innovation.

With the global cost of corruption estimated to be more than US$2.6 trillion every year, the guide’s focus on transparency and open competition will support governments in tackling corruption in public procurement.

The guide is built by the UK’s Government Digital Service (GDS) and supported by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) through the Prosperity Fund Global Anti-Corruption Programme. The work is sponsored by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and the United for Smart Sustainable Cities Initiative (U4SSC).

“The public beta launch of the Digital Buying Guide supports governments globally to buy digitally, with social purpose,” said Warren Smith, Global Digital Marketplace Programme Director at GDS International. “It’s been designed to help anyone who buys for the public sector in their country, and builds on GDS’s successful work with digital and technology procurement.”

“Digital transformation introduces new opportunities to achieve meaningful improvements in public service delivery and ultimately citizens’ quality of life,” said Cristina Bueti, ITU’s Focal Point for Environment and Smart Sustainable Cities. “This will demand efficient government relationships with the private sector. Public procurement is a key arena to build these relationships.”

The guide aligns with best practices in gender equality and anti-corruption and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

It structures the procurement lifecycle into four clear stages:

  • Plan procurement strategies by exploring different solutions with users and suppliers
  • Inform the market to share government needs and encourage open competition
  • Evaluate and award suppliers using clear and objective criteria
  • Manage delivery by working with selected suppliers to ensure that projects run smoothly and deliver the desired outcomes

It also includes illustrative case studies from countries including Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Indonesia, New Zealand and Scotland.

The guide will continue to evolve as governments share their experiences in applying the guide’s advice. To support the iterative evolution of the guide, provide your feedback with this short survey.

The guide is currently available in Spanish and Bahasa Indonesia in addition to English.

For more information on the guide, contact the GDS team at [email protected].

United for Smart Sustainable Cities

The U4SSC Initiative is supported by 17 United Nations partners with the aim of achieving SDG11: “Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable”.

In addition to leading the procurement studies of the OECD E-Leaders Forum, focusing on core principles for successful procurement strategies, Warren Smith is leading a U4SSC Thematic Group working to support local governments in aligning their procurement processes with their smart city aspirations.

The Thematic Group is developing a set of guidelines and associated Key Performance Indicators for the procurement of smart city solutions. The indicators will augment the U4SSC Key Performance Indicators for Smart Sustainable Cities adopted by more than 100 cities worldwide.

For more information on U4SSC, visit the U4SSC homepage or contact Cristina Bueti at [email protected].

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