Transparency International

This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from one of Transparency International’s national chapters. The Anti-Corruption Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International and funded by the European Union


What are the corruption risks posed by unsolicited proposals (USPs)? If governments choose to consider USPs, how can they minimise risks, and ensure transparency and accountability in the delivery of infrastructure projects? What are the international best practices in USP policies?


Unsolicited proposals (USPs) have grown in popularity as an innovative, cost-saving type of public-private partnership. However, the unsolicited, sometimes secretive, nature of these projects and the barriers to traditional competition in public-private partnerships make them vulnerable to corruption risks. This brief details concrete steps governments can take to minimise corruption risk when dealing with USPs during the submission, evaluation, study development, procurement and implementation phases. General best practices include clearly explained guidelines with detailed timelines, opening the project for competitive tender when it has been accepted, establishing clear guidelines for the government and private sector roles, and disclosing details of the project to the public as early as possible to mitigate perceptions of corruption. It concludes with some successful examples of past projects.


  1. Introduction
  2. Corruption and USPs
  3. Minimising risk and ensuring accountability in USP policies
  4. Best practices in USP policies

Main points

  • USPs are vulnerable to several corruption risks because of their low levels of transparency and competition.
  • There are mechanisms that governments can enact before even receiving a USP to be transparent and accountable about the submission and evaluation process.
  • When proceeding with a USP there are ways that governments can make the tender and procurement process open to competition to eliminate opportunities for patronage or kickbacks.
  • Clear evaluations and specific ex ante timelines throughout the process can reduce opportunities for corrupt coordination and mitigate the public’s doubts.


Jessie Bullock, [email protected]


Marie Chêne, Transparency International




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