Press release 30th Sep 2013

Government complacency leaves UK vulnerable to corruption

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Transparency International ‘The Anti-Corruption Scorecard' assesses mid-term record on corruption

30 September 2013 – The Coalition Government is at a crossroads; will it choose to address the red and amber warnings on its anti-corruption record? As Transparency International’s mid-term assessment shows there is significant room for improvement in key areas such as money laundering and parliamentary ethics. The risk of a rise in corruption in the UK should be a cause for concern at the Conservative Party Conference over the next few days.

The Anti-Corruption Scorecard – an assessment of the Government’s record on tackling corruption – shows that while corruption is not endemic in the UK there are significant problems in those areas that need to be understood and acted upon:

  • Dismantling of key institutional defences against corruption;
  • Reluctance to address failures in parliamentary ethics;
  • Failure to prevent money laundering;
  • Absence of government coordination on its anti-corruption activity.

 The UK, however, has a generally good record in its international initiatives, scoring all of its 6 green lights in this area.

“The Coalition government has clear choices to make about tackling corruption. It has two more years to act. This could help reverse the UK’s decline in international corruption rankings. Or it will demonstrate complacency and inaction, which would allow corruption to rise in the public and private sectors” said Robert Barrington, Executive Director of Transparency International UK.

“As President of the G8, the Prime Minister made some encouraging remarks about transparency and corruption. Now is the time to deliver on areas such as a public register of beneficial ownership, which is important in preventing money laundering”

What is the Scorecard?
This Anti-Corruption Scorecard gives the Coalition Government a mid-term ‘corruption corruption-resources-corruption-resources-health-check’, drawing on Transparency International’s research. The assessment will be repeated in future years and used as a basis of analysing the Government’s commitments to an anti-corruption agenda and the major parties manifesto commitments before the next general election.

Of the 26 categories of UK life assessed by Transparency International UK:

  • 6 categories are rated as red;
  • 14 categories are rated as amber;
  • 6 categories are rated as green.

Scorecard downloadable here.

Note for editors:
A key area of concern shown in the Scorecard is the removal of some of the UK’s defences against corruption. For example the abolition of the Audit Commission demonstrates a lack of understanding of the level and nature of corruption risk in local government. On the 9thOctober Transparency International will publish a report on Corruption in Local Government