Black and white listing
Categorising potential partners as (un-)acceptable and (un-)trustworthy.
A blacklist is a list of groups or people that are regarded as unacceptable or untrustworthy.1 These could be organisations or individuals (e.g. consultants) from the water sector that have been involved in illegal activities. Blacklisting or debarment of contractors means preventing an entity from engaging in further contracts for a certain time. This process is done on the basis of pre-established grounds.2 Organisations should also check whether the contracting or contracted entity appears on a public blacklist.
A whitelist, on the other hand, is a list of entities that, for one reason or another, are considered acceptable or trustworthy.3 It could be organisations or individuals, which have performed particularly well, in an especially transparent manner, which have introduced particular anti-corruption measures, or also simply all those which are not blacklisted.
Black- and whitelists are instruments mainly used in procurement, but also associations or other interest groups can have blacklists.
PURPOSE & LINK TO INTEGRITY
For water sector organizations it can be useful to nurse their own black- and whitelist. In this way, the knowledge about previous experiences with other entities remains available in the organisation
Black- and whitelists can prevent a water sector organization from engaging with an organisation, which knowingly (based on previous experiences, newspaper articles, public blacklists, etc.) adopts illicit behaviour. This reduces the risk of the organisation to be exposed to integrity and reputational risks. It also motivates and encourages organisations to set up anti-corruption procedures in order to be listed on the whitelist or not to appear on the blacklist.
- Do you have anti-corruption policies, a code of conduct and/or anti-corruption commitments upon which black and white listing is based? (Also check tools Anti-corruption policy, Code of conduct and Anti-corruption commitments)
- Is your black and/or white list based on due diligence investigations? (Also check tool Due diligence investigation)
The following procedures should be considered when engaging in blacklisting:4
- The listing system should be timely, as delays in the beginning of a debarment process increase costs and reduce credibility.
- The list should be binding.
- The debarment should be effective for a period of time that reflects the severity of the violation.
- The conditions under which the contractor would be removed from the list need to be established prior to the lapse of the established period.
- It needs to be established to what extent subsidiaries, parent companies or partners of a debarred company should be covered by the debarment.
The blacklist should contain:4
- Name of the blacklisted organisation or individual
- Details about the engagement (what was the role of the organisation or individual (contracting or contracted entity), what works did it perform, in which project, when, where, etc.)
- Details about the illicit behaviour
The whitelist should contain:4
- Name of the whitelisted organisation
- Details about the engagement (what was the role of the organisation (contracting or contracted entity), what works did the organisation perform, in which project, when, where, etc.)
KEY GUIDING DOCUMENTS
U4, 2006, Using blacklisting against corrupt companies, U4 Anti-corruption Resource Centre (U4)
TI, 2006, Curbing Corruption Public Procurement, Transparency International (TI)
National Council for Law Reporting, 2010, Public procurement and disposal act. Chapter 412C, National Council for Law Reporting
Philippines’ Government Procurement Policy Board, no year, Blacklisted constructors, http://www.gppb.gov.ph/monitoring/blacklistedCon.php, accessed 28.10.2015
Dzakpata, F., 2011, Ghana: Blacklist Contractors Who Perform Poorly in Water Sector, Allafrica, http://allafrica.com/stories/201111010479.html, accessed on 02.12.2015
ECCHR, 2010, Blacklisted: Targeted sanctions, preemptive security and fundamental rights, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
TI, 2005, Corruption in the water sector. Opportunities for addressing a pervasive problem, Transparency International (TI)
- Oxford Dictionaries, no year a, Blacklist, Oxford Dictionaries, http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/blacklist, accessed 02.12.2015
- U4, 2006, Using blacklisting against corrupt companies, U4 Anti-corruption Resource Centre (U4)
- Oxford Dictionaries, no year b, Whitelist, Oxford Dictionaries, http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/white%2Blist?q=whitelist, accessed 02.12.2015
- TI, 2006, Curbing Corruption Public Procurement, Transparency International (TI).