Essential elements of an Integrity Pact

Three elements

At their core, Integrity Pacts require three elements:

  1. Political will. Governments and/or contracting authorities must make a clear decision to apply an Integrity Pact to a public tender.
  2. An explicit written commitment to respect specific standards of integrity during a tender process. The text can be long or short and could be a standalone contract, a set of clauses in a wider contract or an annex to the tender documentation.
  3. Independent monitoring. Successful Integrity Pacts appoint independent external monitors to oversee the procurement process.

These basic elements can be combined in many different ways depending on the context. This makes Integrity Pacts an incredibly flexible tool. It also means that Integrity Pacts cannot be taken "off the shelf" but must be tailored according to the national legal context, industry sector and other factors.

Find out more about how to tailor Integrity Pacts and about the content to include in an Integrity Pact.

Four models

Based on evidence and experience, the Basel Institute and Transparency International believe that independent monitoring is one of the three essential elements of Integrity Pacts, as described above. That said, not all Integrity Pacts appoint independent external monitors. Below is an overview of the four types of IP models seen to date.

Model Attributes
  • A government commits to using an Integrity Pact in a specific public contracting process.
  • Bidders sign an Integrity Pact.
  • An independent external monitor is appointed to oversee the process.
  • National regulations mandate that contracting authorities use Integrity Pacts under certain conditions.
  • This is the case in at least three countries (see Regulations and policy).
  • Institutionalised IPs have been criticised for being less effective when not linked to independent monitoring (see Role of monitors).
No monitor
  • As per the classic model, but without an independent monitor to oversee compliance.
Open monitor
  • As per the classic model, but instead of an independent external monitor, with a new or existing reporting channel for stakeholders to submit concerns about compliance with the commitments.

Mandatory or voluntary signature?

Usually, it is mandatory for bidders to sign an Integrity Pact in order to participate. In some cases, though, the stakeholders have deliberately chosen to leave signing a voluntary act. In others, the national legal contexts do not allow for mandatory signature.

There are advantages to both approaches:

Mandatory signature Voluntary signature
  • All bidders commit to playing by the same rules, helping generate a level playing field. 
  • Encourages ownership.
  • If signature is voluntary, it may be impossible to gain commitment from enough bidders.
  • Ensures meaningful participation and acceptance from bidders – not just a tick-box exercise required for participation.
  • Constructive rather than authoritative approach.

We recommend that while it is important to tailor an Integrity Pact to the national context, experience has shown that mandating signature is generally more effective at levelling the playing field and results in greater benefits.

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