Analysing Public Procurement Data for Corruption Risks workshop participants pose for a group photo outside African Institute of Mathematical Sciences, Ghana. Photo Courtesy of Ghana News Agency.

The last week was an interesting one for us. Danny Parsons (AMI and Oxford University) and Dr Elizabeth David-Barrett (Sussex University) delivered a 1.5 day workshop at the African Institute of Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) Ghana on Analysing Public Procurement Data for Corruption Risks.

AMI has been collaborating with Dr Barrett and Dr Mihaly Fazekas (Government Transparency Institute) on their research into corruption risk red flags in government contracting and AMI has implemented a special menu in our own open source statistical software, R-Instat, which participants used to analyse procurement data for red flags.

35 participants attended, 25 from AIMS and 10 from civil society groups/political science researchers, including a team from Governance, Conflict and Social Development Issues department of DFID UK who are funding this work.

The first half day included activities and talks on public procurement and how the process can be corrupted. Participants were then introduced to R-Instat and explored the built in open data set of World Bank funded procurement contracts. In groups, participants then investigated the data in more detail, analysing red flags for specific countries and sectors. On the final day participants had the opportunity to present their findings to the group.

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One of the participants present his group’s findings at the workshop.

This is the second such workshop AMI has been involved in after a similar event was held at AIMS Tanzania in March 2017. However, in Tanzania only mathematics and statistics students attended, whereas here the inclusion of experts in public procurement ensured the workshop was truly a multi-disciplined event which focused on the collaboration of mathematical scientists and public procurement experts, drawing on the expertise of both groups.

Feedback from the participants indicate that the workshop was a success. Almost all participants said that R-Instat was “easy to use”. To quote one the of the participants, “R-Instat is a good statistical software which is easy to use for non-statisticians. It doesn’t require much coding experience from the user and it is more specific to analysing procurement data. It is easy to work with.”

One of the ways we’ve been trying to make R-Instat easy and convenient to use is to have tutorial videos to guide users in getting started with analysis of public procurement data. You can view these videos here.

We are really grateful for all the inputs of our team’s and partners hard work on R-Instat and look forward to continued collaboration with are friends in public procurement and political science.

If you want to explore and use R-Instat in your analysis, you can download it from here.