The need of a behavioural change and an active civil society in Southeast Europe (SEE) is highlighted by the region’s economic and democratic challenges. This confirms that anti-corruption is not a final destination, but a consistent process of democratic renewal, checks and balances. In order to support the region’s anti-corruption stakeholders and practitioners, the R2G4P initiative organized a 2-day summer school on 7 and 8 October 2021 on monitoring corruption and state capture vulnerabilities. Building up on the first specialised training for R2G4P members, the summer school’s three sessions were framed according to the key methodologies of the initiative.
The first session provided a comprehensive analysis of the key public procurement integrity risks in the region and discussed the most efficient method of identifying and measuring them. The lecturers from the Government Transparency Institute (GTI), Hungary explained that corruption in procurement is used to steer a contract to a favoured bidder without detection. This is achieved by either avoiding competition or by favouring a certain bidder (e.g. by tailoring technical specifications or sharing inside information). They also noted that misconduct occurs at all critical decision points in the procurement process – planning and advertisement of the call, proposal submission and selection, evaluation of the offers, contract’s negotiations and implementation. In order to detect potentially corrupt procurements, analytical tools such as the free Opentender.eu platform could be used. The platform monitors indicators such as share of single bidder contracts and direct contract awards, lack of call for tender published in an official journal, short submission periods, number of modifications in the open call and the contract, etc. The experts recommended that the analysis of public procurement data is further used for policy reforms, including the adjustments of procedural thresholds and setting of new accountability rules.
During the second session, the experts from the Center for Study of Democracy explained the theoretical approach towards the assessment of state capture at economic sector level and the methodology for identifying market monopolization risks. The speakers noted that, although state capture is a hidden phenomenon, it directly affects public policies, leaving long-lasting and observable public traces. CSD’s State Capture Assessment Diagnostics (SCAD) empowers policymakers and researchers with a tool, able to monitor state capture pressure and address the identified policy gaps. A further advantage of the tool is its flexibility; it can be easily adjusted and applied in different countries and in various economic sectors.
On the second day, CSD’s experts presented the Monitoring Anticorruption Policy Implementation (MACPI) tool. MAPCI has been implemented in more than 20 public organizations within the European Union and the Western Balkans such as border police, labour inspectorates, tax authorities, construction inspection, municipalities, ministries of interior, anticorruption agencies, etc. The tool provides assessment of the individual public institution’s anticorruption policies through quantitative surveys among employees, external experts and clients. Thus, MACPI allows the management of the evaluated public body to better identify and manage existing and emerging corruption risks in its field of work.