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Anti-Corruption Strategy

Cabinet Office and Home Office

Estimated Completion, End of 2016

The UK committed to developing a cross-government Anti-Corruption Strategy by the end of 2016, but that strategy is now overdue. The Anti-Corruption Strategy should provide the framework for annual or sectoral plans to counter corruption, with a comprehensive articulation of the problem, a clear set of objectives, and a long-term vision. A strategy should tell us about the scale of the problem, where the UK plans to focus its anti-corruption efforts, and where there are information or data gaps. Click 'Further Reading' to find out why we need a world class strategy.

The UK's Anti-Corruption Strategy

THE PROBLEM

Since 2013, Transparency International UK have been calling for the UK Government to produce a world class anti-corruption strategy. In 2014 the Government published its Anti-Corruption Plan; it was not perfect, but was a very credible attempt to bring together existing activities within a more coherent framework, set timetables and take ownership of an issues that other governments have ignored.

Without an over-arching anti-corruption strategy there is no discernible long term vision or goal to which the Plan is contributing or view of what a coordinated government approach to corruption should look like. And since the Summit, there have been a number of occasions – whether MPs taking second (or third) jobs, the introduction of a new anti-money laundering watchdog, or repeated revelations on the UK’s role in facilitating global corruption – which an Anti-Corruption Strategy would have given the public clarity on the Government’s attitude to certain issues.

WHAT HAPPENED AT THE SUMMIT?

At the Anti-Corruption Summit, the UK Government pledged to “develop a cross-government Anti-Corruption Strategy by the end of 2016, which will set out our long-term vision for tackling corruption, including how we will implement the [Summit] commitments”. Transparency International UK welcomed this commitment, but we are now 5 months into 2017 and the Strategy has still not been published.

WHAT NEEDS TO HAPPEN NEXT?

We are calling for the UK’s Anti-Corruption Strategy to set out the Government’s response and long-term vision in three areas:

  • Domestically – to respond to the concerns revealed by the Brexit referendum about inequality, injustice, vested interest and the lack of trust in UK politics, emphasising strong British institutions and standards in public life
  • The UK as a safe haven for corrupt capital – to show that the UK will operate to high standards and not a race to the bottom when it comes to money laundering and offering a home to the world’s corrupt elite
  • Internationally – to show leadership in global institutions, to create a new paradigm for global trade and to support an international architecture based on the rule of law.

The Strategy should look to last until 2030, and clear and credible actions should be set to assess the corruption risk in sectors where there is little information, and to prevent and tackle the problem in areas that we know are vulnerable. The Strategy should look to tell us:

  • How bad is the problem (scale, type, prevalence, impact) and if we don’t know, how will we find out?
  • How will the Strategy approach corruption risk that is legal but unethical, such as inappropriate lobbying and the revolving door?
  • How does the Strategy relate to the UK’s commitment to deliver Sustainable Development Goal 16?
  • How does the Government rate the UK’s current anti-corruption capabilities, and are there gaps to address?
  • Which areas of the 2014 Anti-Corruption Plan are really important, and need to be sustained over the long-term and not quietly dropped?
  • Where is this all heading – what is the overall narrative, direction of travel and destination of the UK’s fight against corruption?
Read more about Transparency International’s recommendations for the UK’s Anti-Corruption Strategy here

Why do we need a world class anti-corruption strategy?