Emergency buying 3. How to maintain standards

Maintain transparency

Ensure that emergency buying can be monitored by others by publishing open data

Why it’s important

Since emergency purchases are more prone to corruption or misuse of funds, access to open data is essential to ensure transparency and accountability, as well as supporting emergency response efforts.

Contracting authorities can help ensure this by:

  • collecting and publishing open data about emergency buying
  • monitoring and auditing buying during an emergency

What it means

Whenever possible but particularly during an emergency you should publish information about:

  • the products and services being purchased, their price and quantities
  • the name, size, location of the suppliers
  • who owns the supplier’s business
  • the expected value and actual value awarded
  • how quickly contracts were awarded and which buying method was used
  • which suppliers have been given emergency support or relief measures
  • contract start and end dates
  • where and when the products or services were delivered

In addition you should:

  • use forms or templates to input and publish data in a consistent way
  • consider using a data ‘dashboard’, a visual representation with charts or maps that make it easier to interpret spending during an emergency

Monitoring and evaluation

To help ensure effective monitoring and evaluation of the data you should:

  • enable ‘real time’ monitoring, that is providing immediate feedback to buyers and suppliers, so that they can make improvements rather than waiting for a review after a crisis has stabilised
  • focus on outcomes rather than procedures in audits and evaluations: was satisfactory quality provided for a reasonable price?
  • directly inform the public, NGOs and the media about emergency buying decisions
  • provide ways for whiste-blowers to report problems anonymously

Do’s and don’ts


  • publish open data about emergency buying, including information on pricing, suppliers and procedures used
  • focus on delivered outcomes rather than procedures in audits and evaluations
  • provide ways for whiste-blowers to report problems anonymously


  • do not wait until after a crisis has stabilised to monitor and evaluate emergency buying

Emergency buying: Colombia’s digital approach to COVID-19