The PATI Act & the publishing of public contract details

On 1 April 2015, the Public Access to Information Act 2010 went into effect. Section 6(6) of the PATI Act requires all public authorities to publish in the Official Gazette the following details of contracts with a total value of $50,000 or more:

  • the name of the contractor;
  • the monetary value of the contract;
  • the goods and services to be provided under the contract; and
  • the time for performance of the contract, i.e., the completion or delivery date.

This includes contracts for vendors providing consultancy services for government or other public authorities. These contract details must be gazetted in accordance with the PATI Act unless a particular contract detail would constitute “exempt” information. Exempt information is defined in the specific provisions in Part 4 of the PATI Act. Under the Act, an exempt contract detail does not need to be published, but all other non-exempt contract details must still be gazetted for the public.

The PATI Act’s requirement for public authorities to gazette the overall details of their larger contracts fulfills important purposes of public access to information.

It ensures that the public is aware of the spending of public funds and reduces unnecessary secrecy. Importantly, it allows potential vendors to understand what contracts may be available with government and for the public to assess how contracts are procured and managed. Such details also allow the public a deeper understanding of how a public authority delivers its services and meets the public’s needs.

The ICO is currently overseeing its 2023 Annual Return process with public authorities. As part of this process, each public authority is required to confirm whether it has published its qualifying contracts under the PATI Act and, if not, when this will be done. Qualifying contracts that have been published by public authorities are available for the public to view on gov.bm.