Public Tender Information(PTI)
Gyeonggi Provincial Government

The Problem

Before the initiative began, potential bidders for a public procurement project were given less than a week to prepare before they make a bid. A public notice for bidder eligibility and required documents would be posted at the website of Public Procurement Service of Korea with 5-7 days of bidding period. There was no way for a potential bidder to know which ministry or agency was planning what kind of bidding project when. Obviously, a week was not long enough for potential bidders to review in detail the public notice or request for proposal. The result was that bidders placed a bid without a full consideration of the deal, and sometimes they find that they are unable to perform the project as proposed after signing a contract.
Another issue of the bidding process was that no information about a procurement project, or contract signed for the project (e.g. winning bidder, contract amount, progress made, payment date, etc.) was disclosed before or after the public notice. This often led to a public perception that there may be something fishy going on behind the scene. In fact, bribery or other corruption scandals surrounding a contract for a public project were not unknown in Korea, so the public perception was not entirely groundless.
What was worse, the lack of transparency in contract information affected subcontractors. The timing when the advance payment or progress payment was made was kept from the public, which resulted in such cases where the main contractor delayed or refused to pay the subcontractor, citing non-payment from the client, even though the client already made the payment for the project in time. In addition, since there was no information available about a contract, it was difficult to know where the construction site is (for a construction project) or who is overseeing the progress on site.
Bidders also experienced inconvenience monitoring several different websites not to miss a notice for a public procurement bid, since the information was disclosed not at a single site but through various channels, depending on the client (website of Public Procurement Service, Gyeonggi Net website, etc.).
In order to remove the factors causing inconveniences and enhance transparency in execution of public procurement projects, the local government of Gyeonggi Province of Korea decided to list up all the bidding or contract project to be initiated by Gyeonggi Province and affiliated agencies or institutes for a period of one year and disclose the information at the start of year. In early January, public procurement projects and their details are published online at Gyeonggi Net website ( Also the information online is updated with further details about the actual contract and payment information later, so that others may know about the project progress.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
In order to resolve the issue described above, an exclusive program to disclose information through a single channel was developed. It was not a simple thing. The types of information to disclose included the name of a project and required financial resources; location of the construction site; pictures of the site; bidder eligibility conditions; target project duration; expected timing of RFP; budget information and contact information, including the department in charge of the bidding process. All these information was disclosed at a single website which was one of the key requirements of the program.
Once established, the service has enabled bidders to know what projects there are and there will be to bid for. This has saved their time and effort greatly. Bidders now do not miss a bidding opportunity just because they forgot to monitor certain websites for a week or so. They are also now able to thoroughly prepare for a bid. Contract information is disclosed with enhanced transparency, including the name of the parties signing the contract, name of the contract and date of signing, and the criteria of contractor selection. This has helped reduce the overall public distrust and misunderstanding of contracting process and satisfy inquiries about many contracts.
Also the newly developed program interfaced with Korea Online e-Procurement System (KONEPS) of the Public Procurement Service, so that all the projects registered to the Gyeonggi Province system is automatically updated to the KONEPS. This helped potential bidders see the bidding and contract information of Gyeonggi Province along with that of other provinces without having to separately visit Gyeonggi Province website. Also the system is interlocked to Local Financial Information System (e-Hojo)of the Ministry of Public Administration and Security to automatically transfer contract information to the system on a real-time basis. When information for a contract is uploaded to the Gyeonggi Province system, it is updated to the e-Hojo system automatically so that the public can view contract and bidding information at a glance.
Payment information is disclosed under the “Payment Status” menu of a project. The information is updated by the financial institute as soon as a payment is made to the institute. Also the payment information is sent as a text message to the contact information of the contractor. Contractors are notified that the payment has been made so they do not need web access or a check on their bank account.
In addition to this, to accommodate the needs of over 20 million smart phone users, which account for more than half of South Korean adult population, we also developed smart phone applications so that more people can access information about bidding process and procurement project contract without being restricted by their location.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The initiative was raised during a meeting between the Governor of Gyeonggi Province, Gyeonggi head of accounting and other officials. Put on the agenda and discussed was how to resolve the inconveniences contract bidders are experiencing when it comes to public procurement service. After several sessions, the Governor accepted the proposal to disclose information on contract and bids in advance on the web and gave the directive to implement it.
The director heading the division of accounting, the deputy director in charge of contract management and other working-level officials established and implemented detailed action plans for the initiative. The head of accounting division as well as the deputy director contacted relevant agencies and ministries in person, including the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, KLID, National Security Agency, Public Procurement Service and many others to seek their assistance and consult with them. Their efforts were of great help to the initiative since the service would not have been shaped or completed without help and cooperation of other institutions.
Cooperation within the organization of Gyeonggi Provincial Office was also important, in particular to add new menu to the Gyeonggi Net website. Information Planning Division and Public Relations Division of Gyeonggi Provincial Government recognized the importance and potential benefits of the system and offered active help.
Since the initiative involves interfacing between systems of different institutions, it would not have been possible with the passionate effort and will of Gyeonggi public officials or the accounting department alone. The successful execution of the initiative is attributable to internal and external cooperation between different departments, agencies and organizations. They cared about the people who have filed a complaint against bidding and contracting practices in the public service area and tried to be in their shoes in the process of implementing the initiative, which was the key driving force behind the success.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The key purpose of the initiative was to ensure legitimacy and transparency of contracting in the public domain by disclosing the information on bidding process and all relevant information, so that room for irregularities or corruption can be identified and stifled up front. The ultimate goal of the initiative was to protect contractors and subcontractors and ensure convenience for them, the weaker side of the two parties in a public procurement contract.
The key strategic direction was to ensure “maximum effectiveness at minimal cost.” Since the implementation of the service was initiated by a public institution, which means we were using taxpayers’ money to introduce a new service, the strategic direction was an inevitable choice. To achieve the strategic goal, it was important to establish a close cooperative relationship with other relevant institutions being involved in the system implementation.
When setting up the functionality to update information to the Local Financial Information System (e-Hojo system), we worked in a very close partnership with the Ministry of Public Administration and Security as well as Korea Local Information Research & Development Institute (KLID). In order to transmit update information to e-Hojo system, first the system needed to extract contract information from the database and save it to a separate storage for transmission to the interface network.
The Web Sphere Application server (WAS) to interface our intranet to an external network cost only KRW 8 million (approximately US$ 7,000). To resolve any security concerns, we sought help from the National Security Service.
The Gyeonggi Net website, the official home page of Gyeonggi Provincial Government, also needed updating to provide the new service, with new pages and buttons. We were able to do it at little to no financial cost by seeking help from the company which established the website in the first place. They unhesitatingly accepted to do the necessary update as part of the website maintenance service they are already providing with no further cost.
No matter how excellent a system functions, high maintenance cost will negate the benefits of great functionality. The system we established does not require additional human or financial resources for updates or maintenance. This is one of the strengths of the service system.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
The initiative began when the Governor of Gyeonggi Province gave the directive to disclose bid and contract information online (Gyeonggi Net) in order to ensure transparent and corruption-free contracting public service. Then a program to enable disclosure of detailed information and attachment of RFP or other document was developed. The system to e-Procurement System of Public Procurement Service website to automatically update notices for a bid and winning bids information to the system was linked.
Then the decision to disclose contract information from security perspective was reviewed with other agencies. After the review, a system to extract and transmit contract information from and to Local Financial Information System (e-Hojo) was established. Then interface servers for linkage between internal and external systems and then created new menus on the Gyeonggi Net website (“Contracting Status”) was built and established.
Then the pilot operation of the system began. The Viewer system on Gyeonggi Net has been modified and improved with the results of the pilot operation. Relevant local laws and ordinances were amended to support the system: Gyeonggi Province Local Act on Public Information Disclosure was amended. On October 23, 2009, the new Gyeonggi Net contract information system was open to the public for the first time. In January 2010, the bid and contract project roadmap for the year 2010 was put online for public view.
By establishing a close cooperation with the Public Procurement Service of Korea, we were able to deliver reliable, trustworthy bid and contract information on a real-time basis. The information provided on the website included plans for RFP, currently open RFP, contractor status, payment status, applicable laws to a contract, contract paper, and relevant websites. The new system was received with enthusiasm among Gyeonggi Province businesspeople and residents since it is the most reliable and up-to-date source of bidding and contract information happening in Gyeonggi Province.
In order to provide up-to-date information to companies, any additional contract and bidding information to the website are updated.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
As the information disclosure required linking to different systems of other organizations, including the Ministry of Public Administration and Security and the Public Procurement Service of Korea, it was important to ensure their cooperation. At first it was difficult to seek their help since the service was first of its kind and little was known about such service. It took time to properly explain the purpose and expected benefits of the system and to seek their understanding. We prepared detailed presentation materials and paid several visits to the organizations to mobilize necessary help.
In the process, it was pointed out that there is a risk of invasion of privacy if we disclose bidder information and information on payments made to the bidder. Some raised concerns that this may result in filing of complaints. Legal advice on the issue was sought, and the advisory opinion was that it was authorized to make active efforts to disclose information that the public needs to know for the benefit of people. Also by revising the Gyeonggi Local Act on Public Information Disclosure and relevant ordinances, a legal ground to disclose contract and bidding information was disclosed. This has removed the possibility of litigious disputes up front. Ever since the service was introduced, there has been not a single complaint filed over information disclosure.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
As the initiative targeted to produce maximum effects with minimum cost, any technical or human resources were mobilized through cooperation and help of relevant agencies and ministries. The only actual financial expenditure for the new service amounted to a mere KRW 8 million (US$ 7,000), which was spent on purchasing an interface server (WAS server) to connect our intranet to an external network.
There is no additional maintenance cost to support the system. A team of officials are taking charge of the system to keep the information up-to-date.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The initiative won the top award at 2009 Anti-Corruption Policy Best Practice Contest hosted by the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (ACRC) of Korea. The system was also recognized as a best practice by the Public Procurement Service and recommended to other local governments.
In an effort to recognize the excellence of “Public Disclosure of Bidding & Contract Information” of Gyeonggi Province, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security is also working to enact a legislation to enforce local governments to disclose their bidding and contract project information in advance. The bill is being drafted at the National Assembly of Korea at the moment. If the bill is passed at the National Assembly, it will push other local governments to follow suit of Gyeonggi Provincial Government in disclosing their information and disseminate Gyeonggi’s new practice nation-wide.
In addition to this effort, a few local governments in Korea have benchmarked Gyeonggi Province government and working to enforce a similar initiative.
The initiative requires small initial investment and little maintenance cost, which means the benefits far outweigh the cost. This ensures high sustainability and great potential for dissemination.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
One of the key motivations of introducing the initiative was the business practice of contractors denying or delaying payment to subcontractors, even though they have been paid for the project from the client. This practice has led, in some extreme cases, to suicide of subcontractor due to unbearable financial burdens and other social issues. Since there was no way for a subcontractor to disprove its main contractor when the contractor says the payment was not made by the client, subcontractors could do nothing but to wait until the contractor decides to make the promised payment. By disclosing payment information on a real-time basis, subcontractors, which are mostly micro businesses, and their employees are able to get paid on time. This has greatly improved stability of livelihood for many workers and businessmen.
As the information on contracting and contract progress is also disclosed, the names of officials in charge of a project are disclosed as well as their agencies working at the site. This has led to reinforced accountability and sense of responsibility. As the information on construction site is open to public, the general public now can perform the monitoring role, ensuring quality of the project.
The new system ensured 100 percent of transparency in all stages of public bidding and contract process, and this has helped reduce corruption.

In the past, many bidders for a public project in Korea have raised the issue with the public bidding process to many different organizations, but the authorities did not make enough effort to tackle the issue, abusing their superior position.
Gyeonggi Provincial Government, however, took interest in the issue and demonstrated a strong will to resolve the issue from the viewpoint of public service recipients. The success came only when we took a strong initiative, devised options for solution and consulted with relevant authorities and agencies.
The biggest lesson of the initiative is that it demonstrated the need for the public service area to break away from conservative, existing practices. Only when the public service tries to take side with the recipients and make all-out effort to resolve an issue, the public will put their trust in public service sector. This will help reinforce bonds between public servants and the public.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Gyeonggi Provincial Government
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Ho-pil Jeong
Title:   Tender Section Chief  
Telephone/ Fax:   82-31-8008-4126/82-31-8008-2339
Institution's / Project's Website:   /
Address:   #1 Hyowon-ro, Paldal-gu
Postal Code:   442-781
City:   Suwon
State/Province:   Gyeonggi-do

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