The Indonesian Forum for Budget Transparency or Forum Indonesia untuk Transparansi Anggaran (FITRA), which was established in September 1999, is an organisation working on research, advocacy, and knowledge management for social control. FITRA places the issue of budget as a strategic instrument to promote a government that is transparent, participative, accountable, gender responsive, inclusive, and free from corruption (good and clean governance). This is the governance in which the people’s right to be engaged in the whole budgeting process, starting from its development, discussion, implementation, to evaluation, is fulfilled. FITRA develops a budget transparency movement to achieve a state budget that is fair and meets the people’s welfare. In turn, FITRA’s grand ideal of people’s sovereignty over budget can soon be attained.
Since May 2020, The National Secretariat (Seknas) FITRA, along with Yayasan Swadaya Mitra Bangsa (YASMIB) Sulawesi – one of FITRA’s Networks, has been promoting the use of goods/services procurement through the Swakelola Tipe III scheme in South Sulawesi Province. The objective is so that the Provincial Government (Pemprov) and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) in South Sulawesi (Sulsel) are prepared to implement this Swakelola Tipe III scheme, both its general requirements and technical issues, such as the project proposal and reporting process. Through FITRA’s advocacy, in the 2020 Fiscal Year, two organisations have successfully established a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the South Sulawesi Provincial Government to implement Swakelola Tipe III, namely the Indonesian Women Coalition (KPI) of South Sulawesi and Pilar Nusantara (PINUS) of South Sulawesi. The cooperation with PINUS continues in the 2021 Fiscal Year.
Strengthening the Use of Swakelola Tipe III
Swakelola Tipe III is one of the government goods/services procurement schemes (Pengadaan Barang dan Jasa/PBJ) enforced in the Presidential Regulation (Perpres) Number 16 Year 2018 on Government Goods/Services Procurement. This procurement method enables the government to meet its goods/services needs through CSOs, funded by the State Budget (APBN) and Local Budget (APBD). In previous procurement arrangements, there has yet to be a self-managed (swakelola) procurement from non-governmental non-profit organisations. As a research-based advocacy organisation that thinks highly on the importance of evidence in policymaking, FITRA considers Swakelola Tipe III to be an opportunity to expand and improve research quality for policymaking, thus aligning the produced policy with the available needs and potential.
When the FITRA’s program to strengthening the use of Swakelola Tipe III began, the South Sulawesi Provincial Government had never implemented Swakelola Tipe III in government goods/services procurement. Information regarding this procurement type was asymmetrical and relatively not understood by leaders and strategic officials within the Local Government Budget Team (Tim Anggaran Pemerintah Daerah/TAPD) and the Local Technical Working Units (Organisasi Perangkat Daerah/OPD) of the Local Government (Pemda). Meanwhile, from the regulatory side, there had yet to be a regulation issued at the local level specifically governing this type of procurement.
Based on these conditions, FITRA carried out two types of interventions, namely from the demand side by facilitating the readiness of South Sulawesi Provincial Government to use procurements through Swakelola Tipe III, and from the supply side by facilitating CSOs in South Sulawesi so that they are ready to access and/or become the local government’s partners as implementers of Swakelola Tipe III.
At the beginning of the program from May to June 2020, FITRA engaged in a hearing meeting with the local government. The result of this meeting was the aligned perception, understanding, and support from the local government with the program. After the hearing, FITRA held an online workshop themed “Planning for Implementation of Goods and Services Procurement through Swakelola Tipe III within the South Sulawesi Provincial Government” to increase the understanding of South Sulawesi Provincial Government Officials regarding the procurement of goods/services using Swakelola Tipe III.
FITRA also targeted Technical OPDs to increase their understanding regarding the planning stages and technical aspects using the Swakelola Tipe III procurement scheme through several meetings and consultations. On August 2020, FITRA consulted with the local government to develop the Swakelola Tipe III business process within South Sulawesi Provincial Government. This meeting produced a number of agreements, namely the agreement to develop the technical guideline (petunjuk teknis/juknis) on implementing Swakelola Tipe III under the coordination of the Goods and Services Procurement Bureau (PBJ), the agreement on which topics will be included in the technical guideline, and the agreement on including the element of TAPID as the author team, and also the agreement of three Technical OPDs as a quick win for Swakelola Tipe III in the 2021 Fiscal Year.
After developing understanding from provincial government officials and technical OPDs, FITRA identified the program achievement progress through a mini workshop conducted on August 31, 2020. This workshop agreed on an advanced advocacy plan to promote the use of Swakelola Tipe III. Furthermore, FITRA also gradually facilitated meetings between CSOs and Technical OPDs that will cooperate using Swakelola Tipe III. FITRA also provided assistance to Technical OPDs and CSOs in drafting documents to prepare for Swakelola III.
To improve the understanding of CSO in South Sulawesi regarding procurement through Swakelola Tipe III, FITRA conducted a workshop themed “CSO Preparedness in Swakelola Tipe III Goods/Services Procurement” on June 11, 2020. This activity was continued with an online survey on CSO preparedness as implementers of Swakelola Tipe III from June to August 2020. This survey was given to identify requirement fulfilments and expertise of potential Swakelola Tipe III implementing CSOs. Just like the intervention from the government side, FITRA held a mini workshop to identify the progress of program implementation achievements and an advanced advocacy plan to promote the use of Swakelola Tipe III.
By carrying out a number of advocacy strategies and collaborations, FITRA succeeded in promoting the use of Swakelola Tipe III in South Sulawesi. Examples of the influence of FITRA’s advocacy included the following: the PBJ Bureau of the South Sulawesi Provincial Government was encouraged to take a deeper role as “guide” to coordinate the implementation of Swakelola Tipe III, OPDs developed a Work and Budget Plan (Rencana Kerja dan Anggaran/RKA) to ensure there are programs/activities in 2021 that use Swakelola Tipe III, a South Sulawesi Governor Regulation on the Technical Guideline to Implement Swakelola Tipe III was drafted, yellow pages containing CSOs that can potentially implement Swakelola Tipe III procurement were developed together with PBJ Bureau, and the cooperation between Technical OPDs with CSOs as implementers of Swakelola Tipe III was established.
Support from Knowledge Sector Initiative (KSI)
KSI’s support has enabled FITRA to carry out advocacy work and obtain knowledge on opportunities, challenges, and technical aspects in using the Swakelola Tipe III procurement scheme for CSOs. This support has also driven FITRA to conduct stakeholder mapping based on their inclination, interest, and authority, thus serving as an advocacy strategy. Internally, FITRA gained inputs for developing the organisational funding road map for FITRA members for the sustainability of policy advocacy. The advocacy to use Swakelola Tipe III in South Sulawesi was also done to contribute to KSI’s pilot project in collaboration with Bursa Pengetahuan Kawasan Timur Indonesia (BaKTI) to develop a complete cycle of evidence-based policymaking in South Sulawesi.
In addition to its Program on Using Swakelola Tipe III in South Sulawesi, Seknas FITRA also received support related to two other studies: Synchronisation of National and Regional Planning & Budgeting (Effectiveness of KRISNA Platform) and “False Promise of ABPN 2021? A Portrait of ABPN 2020-2021 for Covid-19 Management”.