20th of December 2018
The first independent monitoring report issued through the Integrity Pacts
Transparency International Romania and the Institute for Public Policy launch today the first independent monitoring report resulted after signing the Integrity Pact with the National Agency for Cadaster and Real Estate Advertising (ANCPI)
The report presents the results of the monitoring activity carried out over two years, for the cadaster project implemented by ANCPI in the Romania’s rural area: Increasing the level of geographical coverage and registration of properties in rural areas in the Integrated Cadaster System and the Land Registry.  During this period, were monitored the activities of planning the project and the development of files for public procurement of cadastral systematic registration services at the level of 194 communes in 36 counties. In the same time, TI-Romania and IPP expressed opinions on the compliance with the applicable legislation, ethical rules and standards of integrity and recommendations of the public procurement procedure. The two entities expressed also proposals for improvement of the processes.
The main conclusions of the independent monitoring report, regarding the time period covered, are presented below. The emphasis on the elements related to the activities of planning the project is determined by the importance of this stage for the further development of the project and the detrimental influence that the accumulated delays may have in the next period.
Monitored project: Increasing the level of geographical coverage and registration of properties in rural areas in the Integrated Cadaster System and the Land Registry, implemented by ANCPI, funded from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Regional Operational Programme (POR) 2014-2020.
The project planning
The start date of project was delayed a lot compared to the initial plans. Those delays regarding the start of the project increase the risks of management failure and consequently the risks of integrity in the implementation of the project, even if they were generated mainly by the concern to improve the technical documents and the cost-benefit analysis. These delays cannot be exclusively attributed to ANCPI, since these were accumulated during a very complex elaboration process and with a very large number of entities involved, such as: World Bank, JASPERS, many Romanian ministries involved in the inter-ministerial Commission, Management Authority – POR, many service providers of feasibility studies elaboration. In this context, ANCPI did not had the necessary capacity to mobilize and coordinate all these entities to complete the elaboration of the project without delays compared to the initial plans.
The compliance of the procurement process
The monitoring did not identify any non-conformities in the documents prepared for the procurement procedure. The aspect of ensuring the best implementation of the contract from the selection phase of the economic operator, by including some criteria for qualitative evaluation of the offers, remains problematic. The independent monitor found that, given the specific nature of the field and the complexity of the skills required to perform the contracts regarding the systematic registration, it was impossible to identify evaluation factors for key staff - lawyers and engineers involved – that respect all the criteria of clarity and equal treatment needed in procurement procedures and ensure that not only the offer but also the services provided subsequently are of superior quality.
Transparency of procedures and access to documents granted to the independent monitor
During the period covered by this report, the independent monitor could work in a transparent environment and had the necessary access to documents provided by ANCPI.
Risks and vulnerabilities to corruption remain residual that cannot only be prevented and will have to be treated with the utmost care and speed if they appear in the procurement process and the implementation of contracts.
Risks related to competition in public procurement remain residual, given that they are carried out in a relatively small and highly specialized market, where economic operators already know each other, and the contracts offered by ANCPI in the project are many, of great value and predictable.
During the process of preparing the documentation for the assignment of cadastral registration services’ contract, TI-Romania and IPP submitted multiple recommendations to improve the quality and clarity of the specifications, such as:
avoiding any qualification criteria that could be restrictive for the participation of foreign economic operators;
the inclusion in the framework agreement and subsequent contracts of discouraging penalties for non-performance or bad-performance of the contract;
the explanation of each specification from the report of necessity and the contracting strategy reported to the implementation needs of the project and the capacity of the contracting authority.
These recommendations were fully accepted and applied by ANCPI.
But there were also two other recommendations, important in the opinion of the independent monitor, rejected by ANCPI, namely:
organizing the market’ consultation prior to the start of the public procurement procedure;
the use of quality factors for the evaluation of tenders, such as the experience of key-staff proposed for the provision of services.
For each of these rejected recommendations, ANCPI presented credible explanations, including time pressure, the risk of contesting quality criteria with the possibility of subjective interpretation or the fact that the technical specifications, approved by Order of the Director General of ANCPI, have a comprehensive and ensures the necessary level of quality of service provision, without it being absolutely necessary to introduce additional quality factors.
However, given that after the end of the bidding period, on November 19, 2018, only one third of the lots in the opened tender received bids, in December 2018 the independent monitor reiterates the recommendation to hold a market consultation.
More information about the Integrity Pact, the monitored project, the registered results, as well as about the integrity risks, you can find in the full document: Monitoring report on needs assessment and elaboration of assignment documents within the cadaster project in rural areas in Romania.
The mentioned report was elaborated within the project Integrity Pacts - Control mechanisms for good management of EU funds, that has as main goal ensuring a good management of European funds by developing and implementing "pilot" Integrity Pacts in projects financed from the Structural and Cohesion Funds. 
The Integrity Pacts are commitments made by the contracting authorities and the economic operators in a public procurement process, through which they undertake to practice and promote high standards of integrity. At the same time, the Pact allows an independent civil society monitor to verify their compliance with these commitments. The Memorandum of Cooperation on the Integrity Pact was signed by the National Agency for Cadaster and Real Estate Advertising and the consortium of non-governmental organizations consisting of Transparency International Romania and the Institute for Public Policy in November 2017. Based on this document, the consortium monitors the progress of the activities of planning the project carried out by ANCPI and of the public procurement regarding the systematic real estate registration. At the same time, the consortium formulates opinions on the compliance of the public procurement procedure with the applicable legislation, ethical norms and integrity standards and makes recommendations and proposals for the elimination of possible irregularities.
For more information, please contact:
Irina Lonean, Project manager from Transparency International Romania, phone: 0744.367.079, e-mail: email@example.com
Adrian Moraru, Public Procurement Senior Expert from the Institute for Public Policy, phone: 0724 237 229, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
 The monitored project ”Increasing the level of geographical coverage and registration of properties in rural areas in the Integrated Cadaster System and the Land Registry”, implemented by ANCPI is funded from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) through the Regional Operational Programme (POR) 2014-2020.
 The pilot project is being implemented at the initiative of DG REGIO in 11 European countries (Bulgaria, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Italy, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia, Czech Republic, Romania, Hungary) for testing Integrity Pacts and monitoring public procurement resulted from 17 projects co-financed by the Structural and Investment Funds. The project was initially planned for a period of 4 years: 2016-2019.