CoST was initiated by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development in 2007. Drawing on the experience of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a conceptual design for CoST was prepared and a pilot exercise was launched in April 2008 with technical support from the World Bank.
The pilot phase of CoST tested the viability of the suggested new governance and accountability processes. The purpose was 'to pilot a new multi-stakeholder approach to public sector procurement of major construction projects which increases transparency and accountability’. The pilot applied to projects of different sizes and from a range of different sectors such as roads, housing, water, flood protection, schools and health centres.
It took place over a 3 year period on a limited scale (eight countries) and with limited resources The pilot countries represented four continents and a mix of country types: low-income countries (Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia), developed economies (UK), post-conflict states (Ethiopia, Guatemala), societies with an advanced civil society and transparency agenda (Philippines), and countries with low civil society participation (Ethiopia, Vietnam).
Each country established a Multi-Stakeholder Group (MSG) comprising members from government, private sector, and civil society organisations. The MSG appointed a coordinator who managed day to day operations.
The MSG in each country piloted the three main activities that form the basis of the CoST transparency processes:
- Undertook a baseline study that profiled the local construction sector, the laws and regulations relating to public administration and transparency, and relevant institutions and initiatives relating to governance in the country, and analysed key project information from a sample of recently completed infrastructure projects.
- Tested the disclosure process in a few procuring entities, assembling a list of key project information from a sample of current ongoing projects and publicly disclosing this.
- Performed an assurance review of the disclosed project information, identifying causes for concern and releasing the findings to the stakeholders and the public.
Please click on briefing notes for the pilot outcomes and lessons.