Embedded Technical Consultants for UNDP Anti-Corruption Project

Full-time

The submission deadline is JULY 13.

Background

The COVID-19 pandemic has put an unprecedented strain on government procurement systems and anti-corruption regulatory bodies around the world, sending governments scrambling amid alarming cases of corruption, misappropriation of public funds, improper contracting procedures for emergency procurement (lacking accountability, and transparency). Before the pandemic, public procurement was already the government's number one corruption risk. Now, the challenges of addressing the supply and demand shocks from the pandemic with outdated and paper-based procurement systems have amplified the case for open contracting across the world.

Nigeria has been in the spotlight prior and more during the pandemic at both national and sub-national levels with deep-rooted corruption and unethical practices plaguing government businesses through procurement. As identified by the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), around 60% of corruption cases are procurement-related. Progress has been made by state governments embarking on procurement reform through the World Bank-funded State Fiscal Transparency, Accountability, and Sustainability (SFTAS) program coordinated by the Nigeria Governors' Forum. Based on learnings from various countries. Implementing open contracting along with citizen engagement presents Nigerian federating states with an opportunity to address the challenges within their procurement processes, attain transparency, internal efficiency, improve service delivery and achieve value for money.

About the Project

UNDP Nigeria in collaboration with Open Contracting Partnership (OCP), and Accountability Lab Nigeria, Edo, Ekiti, and Plateau state Bureau of Public Procurement, will through the Anti-corruption Innovation Project, build on existing progress to adopt the use of procurement data and innovative technologies to improve access to good quality procurement data that would be used for analysis and monitoring of risks or corruption red flags, support informed decision making, and civic engagement around improved service delivery. The publication of procurement data means that citizens, as well as, civil society can directly track the government's performance on service delivery it has committed to providing via contracts. Further, clear evidence shows that open contracting can directly contribute to increased economic empowerment, including through bolstering the number and diversity of companies doing business with the government. This, in turn, should lead to improved integrity and trust in the procurement system.

The joint project objectives

  • Improved access to government procurement data across the 3 states;
  • Improved monitoring and oversight by anti-corruption agencies;
  • Strengthened institutional capacity for technology uptake;
  • Catalyzed data use for advocacy, monitoring and feedback mechanisms by non-state actors;
  • Strengthened ecosystem working to advance open contracting in Nigeria.

This project is being implemented in partnership with three Nigerian states - Edo, Ekiti and Plateau states and one consultant will be hired per state.

Summary of Consultancy

The Consortium is seeking technical consultants for each state with knowledge and experience in designing, developing and delivering complex data-driven projects, to improve the existing OCDS data publication coverage, quality and usability, develop monitoring tools and dashboards and provide embedded technical support to the state public procurement agency full time for 4 months in order to achieve the above project outcomes. This will involve working directly with the procurement agencies and coordinating closely with the Consortium to achieve the following project objectives, services and deliverables.

The consultant will seek to achieve the following objectives:

  • Support the states in procurement data publication and improving their data quality
  • Design and develop a system that collects, aggregates, transforms, and publishes using monitoring tools and dashboards, the existing and any new procurement data into good quality standardized data, ideally in line with the internationally recognized best-practice Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS).
  • Build the capacity of the technical team, procurement entities, identified users for uptake of the systems and non-state actors to ensure sustainability after the conclusion of the consultancy period.
  • Propose policy/strategy recommendations for the adoption and implementation of a sustainable Data Governance Operating Model (DGOM) for the public procurement authorities of their respective States

To help achieve the above outcomes and objectives, the consultant will be embedded within the procurement agencies across the 3 pilot states. Specific activities will be agreed between the consultants, the state agencies and the Consortium. Consultants are expected to follow an agile process of iterative development, that prioritizes demonstrations and working code, and that allows for changes in implementation details. There will be close collaboration with other state and non-state actors involved in the procurement process.

Expected Activities and deliverables

Core activities of the consultant will include:

  • With the OCDS Helpdesk, project coordinator and state procurement agencies' representatives, conduct technical evaluation of the existing systems and solutions proposed, review the existing mapping and technical assessment reports and develop a technical support work and implementation plan and maintain an up-to-date delivery plan all through the project period.
  • Improvement of procurement data quality, integration and/or upgrade of the e-government procurement, OCDS portal and other relevant electronic monitoring systems into a transparency and accountability monitoring dashboard to publish procurement data in accordance with Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS)
  • User requirement gathering: analyze international examples of transparency portals and, engage procurement agencies to understand users need, taking into account the scoping and technical assessment of state's data, design the most appropriate transparency portal, with the recognition that there may need to be incremental improvements implemented
  • Design and Build: Lead the design and development of the monitoring tools and dashboards that collect, aggregate, transform and publish the existing and any new procurement data into good quality standardized procurement data in OCDS standard
  • Architect a process that could include methodology and technology for the collection structurally correct, minimally complete, and logically consistent OCDS data from procurement entities and other databases for input into the monitoring tools and dashboards.
  • Ensure the data publication includes the necessary fields for determining red flags and non-compliance as defined by the state procurement agencies' representatives.
  • Provide a roadmap for the future improvements to be implemented after the conclusion of the consultancy, including what needs to be in place for continuous data to be collected and published.
  • This will include publishing OCDS data via multiple access methods including a JSON API and regularly updated bulk downloads in JSON, CSV and Excel formats, segmented in different ways to ease use, as prioritized through user research (for example, by month, year, procedure, buyer, etc.).
  • Data Digitization and Standardization
    • Digitize (in accordance with Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS), FOIA and other relevant regulatory frameworks) any paper-based bidding documents and forms relevant to the procurement process.
    • Test digitized forms and documentation which are OCDS and FOIA compliant with at least 3 (three) government MDAs.
    • Ensure data exportability, integration and interoperability with complementary governance systems.
    • Identified and tested methods for hosting the data within the procurement agency and/or state's ICT environment.
    • Publish data on monitoring dashboards in an effective and compliant way and can demonstrate this integration.
  • Knowledge transfer and capacity building
    • Documented step-by-step procedures for using developed platforms and tools, including a user-friendly guidance to help procuring entities on how to correctly submit OCDS data into the procurement agencies' reporting system
    • Prepare an administration manual for functional users in charge of creating roles, users, permissions, configuration parameters, and similar.
    • Prepare a technical manual for technical personnel tasked with installing and deploying applications, databases, and similar.
    • Work with the OCP and procurement agencies' OCDS team to plan and carry out technical capacity building for internal teams, procuring entities and other identified interested or relevant stakeholders.
    • Preparation of training slides to be used for training various stakeholders
    • Participation in learning and sharing events with stakeholders to showcase developed tools.
  • Design and development of monitoring tools and dashboards and data analytics
    • Support the states to improve the publication and quality procurement data in order to ensure data usability for development of monitoring tools and for data analytics.
    • Create monitoring tools and dashboards using the red flag methodology and available data for analysis and visualizations. Ensuring it aligns with best practice using OCP recommended tools and guides

Summary of existing technical environment used in the state procurement agencies

Edo state - OCDS portal | e-procurement platform

  • Procurement data prior to 2018 is not uploaded to the system
  • The Edo State Public Procurement Agency also makes data available on the OCDS platform with about 581 releases. Available data shows the process followed in carrying out each procurement.
  • The EDPPA website also has a portal known as “Monitor Me Portal” which is used to monitor the process and progress of projects but it's not working at the moment.
  • Edo State Project Monitoring System (EDPMS) capable of capturing all projects implemented in the State with valid information of the project status vis-à-vis project execution and payments.
  • EDPMS was used to capture over 2000 projects executed from 2012 – 2020. Data capturing was halted, this was orchestrated by a third-party payment for the Hosting and associated plugins used in developing the portal, which is under the purview of the ICTA.
  • A bottleneck that also affects SSL certificate and other licences purchase.
  • Project monitoring is done manually
  • The price intelligence survey outcome is not hosted in a platform that is accessible by other users and the public including non-state actors.

Ekiti state - OCDS portal | e-procurement platform

  • Procurement processes currently run using 2 types of data: structured data – this is data that is generated from the implementation of e-procurement; anad unstructured data – this is data that is curated from the manual and paper-based aspects of the procurement process
  • The existing procurement data has 1339 compiled releases, most of those releases only include information about the buyer. There are only 24 procedures that have tender information, 14 awards and 12 contracts, so the co-occurrence of fields is very low.
  • There are missing fields on the OCDS portal such as ‘award details, contract details, tenderers details etc.
  • Other missing data has been attributed to EKBPP not overseeing the procurement process for self-accounting institutions like SUBEB, Ekiti State Polytechnic etc
  • The state does not have a data governance policy.
  • It is unclear how long data is retained by the EKBPP on existing electronic platforms
  • Ekiti State is planning to roll out two mobile apps for certificate authentication and for project monitoring onsite. It also plans to integrate the MDA request process, tendering and bidding and project monitoring into the e-procurement system.
  • Technical Needs
    • Internal Software development capacity and upskilling of support staff
    • Cloud platform administration capacity
    • Data management capacity
    • Cybersecurity capacity
    • Policy Development and training capacity

Plateau state - OCDS portal | e-procurement platform

  • The Plateau State public procurement process is somewhat of a hybrid system. Word processing and spreadsheets softwares are primarily used to prepare and format procurement data before printing it for dissemination and further storage.
  • The state's OCDS portal is inactive and has data on only 14 projects uploaded to the portal.
  • The PLBPP is currently working with the state ICT agency, PICTDA, to support efforts to upgrade the e-procurement system
  • Using OCP's technical assessment template, the BPP's level of data disclosure was determined. Publicly available data sources include:
    • Some details of large contracts (above the threshold). However, most of the data available do not reflect the entire fields as per OCDS.
    • Annual budgets, usually published online. This is traditionally published in PDF and Excel formats.
    • Auditor general's report
    • Budget performance
  • With the e-procurement portal, the system can output an Excel spreadsheet containing critical bid data, including lots, amounts and dates
  • There is currently no procurement data analysis carried out within the PLBPP or by Civil Society.
  • Under the PPL, the PLBPP maintains a database of contractors, consultants and service providers that seeks to classify and track these entities to aid the PLBPP in making award decisions. The extent to which the system is successful in this role is unclear.
  • The contractor database is currently linked to the e-procurement portal; hence an electronic version is in place for further use and analysis.
  • There seems to be no global identifier system that links the various procurement stages together.
  • Following Plateau's commitment to implement OCDS in 2019, the Bureau has partially integrated OCDS with its procurement portal.
  • User engagement
    • With the States signing into OGP, the PEs are coming to terms with the co-creation principles
    • The PLBPP has expressed the need for co-creation to ensure that the usability requirements of stakeholders are taken into account in the portal's development;
    • several PEs are also working closely with CSOs to open up the procurement data
  • there is no general, formal complaints mechanism for whistleblowers within or outside of the procuring entity.
  • shortcomings of the procurement process - such as inadequate communication in advertising notices, and actual contract implementation.
  • There is, therefore, a need to get buy-in from the private sector by demonstrating the value of open contracting to their business.
  • The government is currently working on a mobile application called Click n Tell; the application will serve as a platform where all Plateau citizens and residents, especially the youths, can share their concerns, complaints, and comments on government projects, programmes policies and get feedback.

Technical requirements/Considerations

  • All products developed through this component need to be fully integrated and embedded into each state's ICT environment.
  • Data from the forms must be exportable and capable of being used by visualization tools that can be integrated onto the portal.
  • Consultant will be required to identify appropriate tools and services to be used for the technical development including open-source platforms where necessary.
  • Adhere to the principles and standards defined by the organization and ensure that these are reflected in the products implemented.

Intellectual Property and confidentiality

To the extent possible, all project outputs will be owned by the state's procurement agencies, have rights assigned to identified stakeholders where/if necessary, or be licensed as open source.

The selected consultant prior to commencing must sign a non-disclosure and confidentiality agreement with each state's procurement agency. The selected consultant will also have to under-go security vetting prior to commencement of any work. Any information that is not public and is used for the development of the consultancy may not be published, distributed, or copied in whole or in part, by any means without the authorization of the state's procurement agency.

Qualifications

Required

  • Expertise and experience in using Microsoft tools and services like Sharepoint, PowerBI, SQL. As the primary technologies used by the state procurement agencies, the deliverables will be developed using Microsoft technologies to ensure sustainability over time.
  • Experience with creation of user interfaces - including significant skills in UI design and front-end development.
  • Experience in carrying out relevant user research to inform technical design/development
  • Experience in the development of open source ETLs, data warehouse and data quality improvement processes and visualizations, with demonstrated use of the aforementioned tools. Demonstrable experience with at least 3 projects executed.
  • Data management - likely past projects might include data aggregation, red flag platforms, dashboards, business intelligence tools, search tools, etc.

Not required but preferred

  • Clear understanding of open data issues and experience in working with partners on implementing data projects that are centered around user needs and the use of data.
  • Ability to generate and deliver clear, persuasive oral and written communications especially related to documenting IT processes.
  • Knowledge of the Open Contracting Data Standard (OCDS) is a big plus.
  • Knowledge of sub-national public procurement activities in Nigeria is a big plus.

Terms of the Consultancy

  • The consultants will work for a maximum of 80 days for 4 months
  • You will be stationed at the state's procurement agency to work on an agreed schedule with the team.
  • You will report directly to the consortium and state procurement agency as regards all technical project delivery.
  • You will report operationally and administratively to the Programs Manager for Africa at OCP.
  • You will perform all work on your own computer.
  • Regular project check-ins and reviews against project timelines will be conducted with UNDP consortium and relevant stakeholders.
  • Payment will be against monthly invoices, including satisfactory progress report of deliverables performed during the month and their corresponding dates and times.

Application process

A submission must consist of:

  • A Curriculum Vitae (CV)
  • A Technical proposal of at most five (5) pages outlining your intended plan. Kindly specify which state you will be supporting.
  • Itemized budget with daily rates
  • 3 examples of similar projects
  • References to one or more source code samples, preferably open source

See the Software Bid Submission Instructions for details.

The deadline to submit your application is 13 July, 2022.

Should you have any questions please contact - Andidiong Okon, Programs Manager for Africa


Embedded Technical Consultants for UNDP Anti-Corruption Project

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