A new tool to track how countries use exclusion to promote integrity and achieve best value

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Global Suspension & Debarment Directory Global Suspension & Debarment Directory

Exclusion is a tool commonly available to governments to protect their procurement systems from fraudulent or corrupt suppliers and reduce performance risk.  But despite the prevalence of this mechanism – which has many labels, including “debarment,” “disqualification,” “suspension,” and “blacklisting” – little research has been done to identify proven methodologies and best practices. 

We are therefore pleased to present the Global Suspension & Debarment Directory, the first ever consultative resource on exclusion systems. The Directory serves as a resource for anyone interested in learning how the covered countries and organizations employ exclusion. Using data captured through the 2020 Global Suspension & Debarment Survey, the Directory summarizes the exclusion systems of 23 different jurisdictions and institutions and includes references and available links to the relevant laws and regulations.    

The Directory presents information on six key areas for each exclusion system surveyed:

  1. Government-Wide Legal and Institutional Framework
  2. Functioning and Enforcement of the Government-Wide Exclusion System
  3. Substantive Grounds for Government-Wide Exclusion
  4. Scope and Effect of Government-Wide Exclusion
  5. Government-Wide Transparency: The Exclusion List
  6. Limited Scope Exclusion Systems

To accompany the Directory, an interactive database has been launched for users to sort and compare specific aspects of the included systems, access relevant resources for each jurisdiction, and download individual summaries from the full Directory.

The inaugural Directory revealed several interesting findings. First, our research confirmed the prevalence of exclusion systems across many countries and institutions. Indeed, only one of the 23 jurisdictions included in the Directory did not have any type of government-wide exclusion framework at the national level. Second, almost all jurisdictions included in the Directory provide an opportunity for the accused supplier to respond to or challenge the basis for its exclusion.

But, as they say, the devil is in the details. While accused suppliers generally have an opportunity to respond, the timing of this opportunity varies widely and does not always come before the exclusion takes effect. 

Furthermore, the effect of an exclusion varies across countries and organizations. A slight majority of jurisdictions included in the Directory have a “traditional” debarment system that prohibits offending suppliers from participating in all procurements across the government and publicly lists the suppliers’ ineligibility. But at least eight of the summarized jurisdictions use exclusion as a basis to disqualify offending suppliers on a contract-by-contract basis. In these jurisdictions, the exclusions do not extend beyond a single procurement process and are not publicly listed.

The process for imposing an exclusion on an offending supplier also varies across jurisdictions.  In certain countries, the decision to exclude a supplier is made during the procurement process as part of the qualification examination. In others, exclusion decisions are made by independent decision-makers outside the procurement process. And in still other jurisdictions, both avenues are possible.

Perhaps the most important takeaway is that there is not a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to exclusion. As shown in the individual summaries, many nuances exist in the legal frameworks that made it difficult to neatly categorize certain jurisdictions. More research, including a deeper dive into a select few of these jurisdictions, would help to illuminate these nuances. 

The Directory would not have been possible without the steadfast support of the Debarment and Exclusions Subcommittee of the International Bar Association’s Anti-Corruption Committee and the partnership among the World Bank’s Office of Suspension and Debarment, the Sanctions Officer for the Inter-American Development Bank Group, and Le Bureau de l’Inspecteur General de la Ville de Montréal

Thanks also should go to the numerous private practitioners, government officials, and academics who responded to the 2020 Global Suspension & Debarment Survey and provided helpful advice, knowledge, and assistance throughout this effort (see the Directory for a list of these contributors). 

As the World Bank continues to refine its sanctions policy framework, the Global Suspension & Debarment Directory provides an opportunity to recognize, listen, and learn from other systems to improve the effectiveness and fairness of the global fight against corruption.   We look forward to continuing these important research activities and expanding the Directory’s coverage.

To download the Directory and find more information on upcoming events, please go to www.worldbank.org/exclusionsurvey.


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