The benchmarking tool has been used in over 50 countries and enables self-assessments. The tool analyzes elements of public financial management such as budgets and controls because of the impact on the procurement process. It also integrates with PEFA assessments. It is a qualitative assessment rather than a performance assessment.
The OECD/DAC tool covers four pillars:
- I – Legislative and Regulatory Framework
- II – Institutional Framework/Management
- III – Operations and Market Practices
- IV – Integrity and Transparency
Ms. Bigart described the 12 indicators and 54 sub-indicators.
She cautioned about poor procurement practices including not paying vendors on time. This increases the cost because vendors recognize the long payment cycles. Some governments start projects without sufficient budgets. This causes projects to be abandoned. Budget and procurement systems should be integrated.
Ms. Bigart pointed out some other poor practices including lax contract administration and no delegation of procurement responsibility. The private sector and civil society should be enabled to question government procurements.
Lessons learned from the use of the OECD/DAC benchmarking tool includes:
- The tool is useful and relatively easy to use
- Standardization through the tool creates need to use flexibly in a given country – may require some customization and interpretation
- Some indicators will require adjustment after experience from over 40 countries
- Use of the tool is an input to a process so scoring is not as important as the information learned
- Results of any benchmarking exercise needs to be more clearly linked to other tools like PEFA
- Reform strategy must be integrated and prioritized on the basis of overall public sector management and public financial management strategy