The private whistleblower: defining a new type of role in the public system

Publisher's full text
Lisa Hansson

Public procurement has become a common element in Swedish administration. One purpose of procuring is to lower the costs of the procured service and another is for the political level to gain better control over what it is purchasing. However, monitoring problems exist when conducting public procurements; recent studies indicate that actions related to corruption among public servants are most common in public procurement processes. This article takes its departure in public actors monitoring problems. I argue that, in the case of public procurement, private actors have taken on a type of monitoring role towards the public sector, and that the public system in fact, depends on private actors to detect bypasses committed by civil servants. This article provides an understanding of this monitoring role and discusses its theoretical and practical implications for the public system. It is concluded that upholding the public system is not the primary objective for the private whistleblower but a positive effect. The monitoring role is analysed in the framework of principal-agent theory and should be seen as complementary to existing monitoring functions that public principals have at their disposal.

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