Imminent! Transformation of the World Bank’s Procurement Framework

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World Bank. Photo © Dominic Chavez/World Bank

In keeping with recent global trends in the procurement arena, the World Bank is transforming and modernizing its procurement framework. 

In the private sector, companies have long viewed maximizing of supply chains as key to healthier bottom lines.  In the public sector, many governments have been moving from overly rule-based procurement systems to systems that focus on performance and achievement of development goals. 

The World Bank has had a procurement framework that has largely remained unchanged for a couple of decades. This framework as inspired by the times when the Bank lending was towards large infrastructure projects and was enshrined in a set of procurement guidelines which the borrower had to follow when carrying out procurement under Bank financing.  This is all changing.

The Bank’s Board of Directors approved a new procurement framework  in July 2015, an initiative aimed at modernizing procurement under Bank projects in order to better meet the needs of client countries. Since approval of the Framework, the Governance Global Practice (GGP) and OPCS have been carrying out work to prepare for launch of the new Policy on July 1, 2016. It provides both borrowers and Bank staff with the tools to better serve the needs and aspirations of Clients and, thus, the mission of the Bank.
How does the new Procurement Framework impact our work? 
The overall aim of the new Policy is to enable borrowers to maximize the development objectives of Bank-financed projects and to assist Client countries in building and implementing sound procurement arrangements and institutions to advance their development.
For the purposes of furthering the role of procurement in enabling procurement to more suitably support the development objectives of projects, the new framework introduces a number of transformational changes.  One key change is to offer greater flexibility and choice in procurement approaches so as to ensure that borrowers have the tools to meet the specific purpose the project aims to achieve. The specific mechanism through which these decisions will be made will be the preparation of a Project Procurement Strategy for Development (PPSDs) for each project.  The PPSD will require greater upstream engagement on procurement matters in project design while emphasizing flexibility and fit for purpose so that the procurement arrangements take into account each country’s and project’s unique characteristics and context and best serve development objectives.
Other examples of changes introduced in the new framework include:

  • A sharper focus on achieving value for money including, as appropriate, the use of non-price factors in evaluating bids,
  • Introduction of a large number of procurement methods and approaches thus enabling greater flexibility in designing procurement arrangements,
  • The ability to rely on alternative procurement arrangements of co-financiers or of well performing agencies,
  • The opportunity to streamline prior review,
  • Greater attention to issues of contract management,
  • The opportunity to provide enhanced hands on support to borrowers particularly in low capacity environments.

Monitoring processes are to be upgraded through the establishment of the Systematic Tracking of Exchanges in Procurement (STEP), the Bank’s new electronic procurement planning and tracking platform.  Through STEP, all documentation submitted to the Bank will be archived automatically, making project information tailored and more accessible to key stakeholders (e.g. TTL, client, procurement specialist).  STEP will track all procurement projects end to end, to streamline processes, measure timelines, provide benchmarks and support more open data in Bank procurement.   The new policy provides the ability to more easily discern and analyze procurement performance, using data provided by STEP.
How are we implementing the Procurement Policy Reform?
Implementation of the new framework is led by the Global Governance Practice (GGP) with support from Operations Policy and Country Services (OPCS). The GGP and OPCS are collaborating closely on all aspects of the preparations for the launch of the new Policy Framework and report back to Senior Management and the Board.
To date, more than 200 Bank staff members in the procurement family have received training on Key Changes in the new Policy and PPSD. Core Procurement training and information sessions for Task Team Leaders (TTLs) and Project Team members are already being conducted, prioritized for those involved in pipeline projects that will initially adopt the new Policy. To date, almost 40 information sessions reaching nearly 1300 Bank staff and Borrowers have been held.
A second round of training is being rolled out on Application of the New Policy/Value for Money, further complemented by clinics on new and advanced procurement topics. Training materials will include case studies from different regions and will leverage cutting edge industry knowledge and experience. 
For TTLs and other operational staff, we will update the Operational Core Curriculum, offer E-learning modules, and face-to-face training, as needed.  We will also offer to Borrowers E-learning materials on the interactive platform, complemented by seminars. “Training of trainers” courses are also being offered for Bank Staff to implement the program globally.
How will we increase awareness about the new policy?
We know there will be an increasing number of questions about all the options and opportunities available under the new Policy. Anticipating this, we are in the process of executing an internal Bank and external Client outreach program to ensure awareness of the policy reform that builds on the extensive global consultations already undertaken to reach 5,000 people in 100 countries. The outreach program will consist of targeted information sessions in Washington, DC, and country offices, regular newsletters, as well as multi-media tools such as videos and a website offered in various languages with tailored messages for different stakeholders. A group of key staff equipped with tailored materials will be deployed as ambassadors for the new policy. We will monitor implementation to identify and convey early wins that can inform and inspire our global stakeholders.
Please join the dialogue about the new framework and ongoing implementation rollout. We look forward to working with you to update Bank procurement and make it a more strategic development tool for governments.
Tweet these:
.@worldbank is implementing new procurement policy to better serve the needs and aspirations of clients 
New policy streamlines @worldbank procurement into one system 


Robert Hunja

Director, Public Integrity and Openness

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