Scientific Responsible: Prof.ssa Gabriella M. Racca

Today, risk-assessment and risk-management stand out as risk-treatment tools with specific relevance for the public sector. Public risk-treatment procedures have traditionally formed knowledge for providing inputs for the public decision-making while the current struggle for increasing efficiency and reducing wastes and expenses has pushed public regulators to re-thinking and increasing these procedures. Public risk-management appears now as one of the fundamental ways through which Government meets citizens’ expectations balancing interests and pursuing the public interest with efficiency and integrity.

The risk-treatment process has indeed become an essential element in the achievement of public interest, becoming a requisite of the legitimacy of public action. Adequate and innovative forms of public risk-management should therefore be found and analyzed to specifically address the pending risks in the public administrations.

The panel aims at conducting an integrity risk-assessment of public procurement, as one of the most relevant areas of public sector affected by corruption, considering the relevant amount of resources involved and the possible lack of professionalism within contracting authorities. The fight against corruption in public procurement involves the development of preventing mechanisms such as risk-assessment and risk-management. The panel covers the integrity risk-assessment review in the four main pillars of public procurement fabric, i.e. legal framework, institutional and operational capacity and integrity mechanisms.

A sound legal framework allows to overcome troubles of fragmentation and incoherence, weak enforceability and lack of legal certainty for bidders. Integrity risk-assessment should be directed to simplify legal framework and stimulate efficiency by reducing burdensome, uncertain and obscure legal provisions. This process also allows for a comparison among institutional capacities of contracting authorities to perform public procurement and to the chance of introducing joint purchasing arrangements and framework agreements.

The goal is to improve both integrity and best value for money since best value for money could be the predictable outcome of an efficient, sound and coherent public procurement system. The risk-treatment process aims at submitting all the main components of the public procurement system to analysis and integrity-check. Indeed, by following this path, integrity in public procurement could be ensured by analyzing the risks and symptoms of corruption within public tenders (through risk-assessment process) and by developing across the time tools and tender documents which may better safeguard public procurement integrity (through risk-management process). These tools could include risk-indicator systems such as red-flags. This process should be carried on throughout the entire public procurement cycle, addressing the risk to integrity in the execution phase, by developing contractual tools – such as integrity pacts – for fighting corruption even in the later stage of public contracts with the engagement of citizens, losing bidders and public authorities. The above-mentioned areas can represent an outstanding opportunity to improve the outcomes of research in this sector.

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