In Mexico, since 2004, the federal government of Mexico has required the involvement of “social witnesses” in public bidding for goods, works, and services over a certain threshold value. Since 2009, participation of a social witness has been mandatory in procurements valued at more than $23 million for goods and services and US $43 million for public works. Non-government organizations and individuals may be selected as social witnesses by the Ministry of Public Administration. Their function is to propose strategies for improving transparency, impartiality and compliance with the legal framework, and must issue an alert if they detect any irregularities in the course of the procurement. At the conclusion of the procurement proceedings, the social witness issues a publicly available statement including observations and, as appropriate, recommendations. The statement is posted on the government’s central procurement website and in the file of the tender.
The “Social Witness” program is the result of an initiative of the NGO Transparencia Mexicana to facilitate the participation by civil
society as external observers in public procurements. Originally, social witnesses par!cipated as a result of guidelines issued by Ministry of Public Administration (MPA) in 2004. The guidelines stipulated that MPA keep a registry of individuals and non-governmental organizations which may participate in all stages of a procurement conducted by any institution of the Federal Public Administration.
in Mexico”, Transparency Interna!onal USA, CIPE, Transparencia Mexicana, 2011,
According to Transparencia Mexicana, the Social Witness program has signiﬁcantly reduced the costs of public contracts and has increased the
number of bidders participating in the procurement process in Mexico.