Armenia is one of the unique countries, which provided maximum transparency of the Procurement Complaint Review Board work both legislatively ensuring publication of the board's decision, and via online broadcasting of the board's hearings.
The suggestion of broadcasting board's hearings was made by TI Armenia (Transparency International Anticorruption Center) within Open Government Partnership while developing the OGP Second Action Plan of the Republic of Armenia (2014-2016) (TI representative was a member of working group, which developed the Second Action Plan). According to the Organization's monitoring in many cases the decisions of the Procurement Complaint Review Board were controversial and causing questions, and just the publication of decisions was not enough to find answers to the questions raised. There was also a need to learn about how the decisions were adopted.
As a result in order to ensure transparency in the decision-making of the Procurement Complaint Review Board starting from June 2015, hearings of the Armenian Procurement Complaint Review Board are broadcasted online and the videos are published on the RA Governments official website https://www.e-gov.am/gnumner/.
This decision is innovative and ensures full publicity of complaint reviewing in public procurement. Armenia is the first country to introduce such approach towards openness in public procurement in the post-soviet space.
Despite such improvement in transparency, the new Public Procurement Legislation (PPL), adopted on January 14th, 2017, reduced the level of independence of the
Complaint Review Board.
The previous version of the PPL ensured that the members of board were selected by accreditation (via a special exam/test) from both public and private sector. Additionally, 3 board members were elected based on the principle of rotation. According to the new PPL, the 3 members of the board are now appointed for a five year term by the President of Armenia, upon nomination of the Prime Minister.
The new method of appointing the Complaint Review Board members diminishes their level of independence, as they are directly accountable to the president, leaving room for pressure. Even though it is too early to clearly state that the independence of the board is at risk in practice, certain observations can be made, as 2 out of 3 board members are already appointed. One of the Board members is Mher Ananyan, ex-head of the Procurement Support Center SNCO. During last 10 years Mr. Ananyan held only public positions. Second Board member is Emil Sargsyan, who previously served as the head of "Transport PIU" of the Armenia’s Ministry of Transport and Communication. Before, Mr. Sargsyan was deputy head of the Procurement Support Center SNCO. Therefore, according to the existing practice no Procurement Complaint Review Board member is currently representative of the civil society, which is a definite drawback for the review board.