Looking to 2020: What’s on the horizon for infrastructure transparency?

2019 was a defining year for CoST: we gained seven new members, received recognition from internationally recognised stakeholders such as FIDIC and the G20 and concluded a major research project exploring how key issues in high-income countries can be resolved to deliver better quality infrastructure. We’ve hit the ground running as we enter 2020 and already have plenty lined up – here’s what to look out for in the year ahead.

Increasing CoST influence globally

CoST Executive Director Petter Matthews will reprise his role as International Lead of the Civil Society 20 (C20) Infrastructure Working Group in 2020, alongside a new role on the C20 Steering Committee. Maintaining this presence within the C20 offers CoST an excellent opportunity to continue advocating for greater infrastructure transparency at a high-level amongst G20 countries, building on the impact made in 2019. The need to increase transparency and integrity in infrastructure was given high importance in last year’s C20 Policy Pack and the G20 went on to endorse the CoST approach to combatting corruption in infrastructure during the Leader’s Summit in Osaka.

In addition, we will be looking to work with our partners and take part in key influencing events this year, including those of the OECD, Transparency International, FIDIC and the International Open Data Conference. Our team shared lessons from CoST at many influential events over 2019 and look forward to continuing this engagement with the global community in the coming months.

Supporting CoST members with new materials

As our membership continues to grow, we recognise the need to develop new resources to guide members as they implement CoST programmes. As such, we’re pleased to announce that a series of guidance materials will be published this year to do just this, including a new manual on CoST assurance. The Assurance Manual will provide a comprehensive, step-by-step guide to the assurance process and help to formulate clear, concise and accessible assurance reports which are adaptable to the context.

CoST will also be publishing guidance on key parts of the CoST approach including on effective multi-stakeholder working and disclosure which will assist members in the application of our recently launched Open Contracting for Infrastructure Data Standard (OC4IDS).

Innovation in new tools and standards

Throughout 2020, we will be working closely with our members to move towards incorporation of the OC4IDS into their new and existing platforms.

We’re also excited to announce the publication of a brand-new tool to measure infrastructure transparency and accountability: the Infrastructure Transparency Index (ITI). The ITI will assign individual procuring entities a score using a subset of indicators which assesses the enabling environment, disclosure processes and practices, how much data is disclosed and how citizens can participate. The score will then be published in the form of an index, ranking procuring entities at the national or sub-national level. The index will provide a snapshot of transparency and accountability in public infrastructure which can be used by stakeholders to promote better performance over time.

Establishing our vision for 2021-2025

Last but by no means least, we will be developing our new strategic plan for 2021 – 2025. Over recent years we have seen that the CoST approach can be a guiding force in the delivery of transparent and accountable public infrastructure. Our new strategy will draw on this experience as we adapt to the ever-changing landscape we find ourselves in at the beginning of a new decade.

We’ll be providing further information on our progress building influence through key events, developing new publications and launching innovative tools as the year progresses. Follow us on Twitter and sign-up to our newsletter to make sure you don’t miss a thing.