Thought Leadership

What are the core principles of public procurement?

20 July 2022

Public procurement is fundamentally based on the idea that competition should be used to achieve value for money, which is defined as “the best mix of quality and effectiveness for the least outlay over the period of use of the goods or services bought”.

With public money being spent on such projects, it is vital that the right procedures and policies are in place to ensure that the procurement process is clear, transparent and compliant.

The government’s procurement policies are aligned with a series of core principles that enhance the integrity of the process, which are described below.



  • Provide an adequate degree of transparency in the entire procurement cycle in order to promote fair and equitable treatment for potential suppliers.
    Governments should provide potential suppliers and contractors with clear and consistent information so that the public procurement process is well understood and applied as equitably as possible.
  • Maximise transparency in competitive tendering and take precautionary measures to enhance integrity, in particular for exceptions to competitive tendering.
    To ensure sound competitive processes, clear rules and guidance should be provided on the choice of the procurement method and on exceptions to competitive tendering.


Good management

  • Ensure that public funds are used in public procurement according to the purposes intended.
    Procurement planning and related expenditures are key to reflecting a long-term and strategic view of government needs. Public procurement should be linked with public financial management systems to foster transparency and accountability as well as improve value for money.
  • Ensure that procurement officials meet high professional standards of knowledge, skills and integrity.
    Recognising officials who work in the area of public procurement as a profession is critical to enhancing resistance to mismanagement, waste and corruption. Public procurement should be invested in accordingly and provide adequate incentives to attract highly qualified officials.


Prevention of misconduct, compliance and monitoring

  • Put mechanisms in place to prevent risks to integrity in public procurement.
    Governments should provide institutional or procedural frameworks that help protect officials in public procurement against undue influence from politicians or higher-level officials.
  • Encourage close co-operation between government and the private sector to maintain high standards of integrity, particularly in contract management.
    Governments should set clear integrity standards and ensure compliance in the entire procurement cycle, particularly in contract management. They should also record feedback on experience with individual suppliers to help public officials in making decisions in the future.
  • Provide specific mechanisms to monitor public procurement as well as to detect misconduct and apply sanctions accordingly.
    Mechanisms should be set up to track decisions and enable the identification of irregularities and potential corruption in public procurement. Officials in charge of control should be aware of the techniques and actors involved in corruption to facilitate the detection of misconduct in public procurement.


Accountability and control

  • Establish a clear chain of responsibility together with effective control mechanisms.
    Clear chains of responsibility should be set by defining the authority for approval, based on an appropriate segregation of duties, as well as the obligations for internal reporting.
  • Handle complaints from potential suppliers in a fair and timely manner.
    Potential suppliers should be given effective and timely access to review systems of procurement decisions and that these complaints are promptly resolved.
  • Empower civil society organisations, media and the wider public to scrutinise public procurement.
    Public information should be disclosed on the key terms of major contracts to civil society organisations, media and the wider public. The reports of oversight institutions should also be made widely available to enhance public scrutiny.


These principles are critical in ensuring that public procurement provides the best possible results on all public sector projects, delivering value for money and guaranteeing that all parties have been given the best chance to succeed.

To find out more about how Pagabo’s frameworks uphold the core principles, visit our frameworks page.


Do you have a project that our frameworks might be able to support on? Get in touch to discuss your requirements with one of our procurement professionals.

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