The Contracting Process

There are several stages to a contracting process.

OCDS covers:

Tender

Planning
Including:
Budgets
Project plans
Procurement plans
Market studies
Public hearing info

Tender

Initiation (Tender)
Including:
Tender notices
Specifications
Line items
Values
Enquiries

Award

Award
Including:
Details of award
Bidder information
Bid evaluation
Values

Contract

Contract
Including:
Final details
Signed contract
Amendments
Values

Implementation

Implementation
Including:
Payments
Progress updates
Location
Extensions
Amendments
Completion or Termination info


Not all contracting processes have all stages. For example, direct contracting may start with the award of a contract. However, there will still be information that can be disclosed about the budgets, specifications and selection process even in this case.

You should aim to publish OCDS data close to real-time: releasing data as each stage of a contracting process takes place.

This may involve generating output from a range of different systems. Data published from different systems can be tied together by use of a common Open Contracting ID (ocid).

Defining a contracting process

For public procurement OCDS defines a unique contracting process as:

All the planning, tendering information, awards, contracts and contract implementation information related to a single initiation process.

An initiation process may be a tender, a direct contract award, or a call to award a concession.

The Open Contracting ID (ocid)

Each unique contracting process should be assigned an ocid. This is an identifier which can be used to join up data between different stages (as often the data may be stored in different systems).

To make sure the ocids assigned by two different publishers do not clash, publishers are encouraged to register a publisher prefix. This can be prepended onto locally generated identifiers, giving a globally unique identifier, and allowing disparate data sources to confidently refer to a unique contracting process.

You can register your ocid prefix here.

Worked Example

In Mexico City, an initial mapping identified that identifiers were assigned to each tender process or direct award, using a pattern based on the initials or name of the department involved, a tender or contract number, and the year.

For example:

OM-DGRMSG-004-13

These identifiers uniquely identify each contracting process. Fields and business processes to capture these identifiers at each contracting process stage were added to the relevant systems.

Mexico City then registered a prefix with the OCDS helpdesk. They have been given the prefix ‘ocds-87sd3t’ which can be added to their unique process identifiers to give a globally unique ocid.

For example:

ocds-87sd3t-OM-DGRMSG-004-13

All the award notices, contracts and transactions resulting from the tender with this identifier should also share this ocid - allowing Mexico City to bring together a complete picture of each contracting process.

Note

The ocid is case sensitive. Case should be used consistently whenever an ocid is presented.

Mapping your systems

The Open Contracting Data Standard helpdesk provide a technical assessment template that can be used to identify the different systems involved in managing data on each stage of the contracting process.