Corruption in the UK is increasing according to the world’s largest public opinion survey on corruption from Transparency International, with survey participants identifying the media as the most corrupt sector, closely followed by political parties.
The Global Corruption Barometer 2013 – a survey of 114,000 people in 107 countries – reveals that 65 per cent of people in the UK believe corruption has increased in the last two years. Perception of corruption in the media has significantly increased since the publication of Transparency International’s 2010 survey when less than 40 per cent believed the sector had a corruption problem. This year the figure has risen to 69 per cent, placing it as the sector people believe to be most affected by corruption.
The global results can be viewed in full here
Corruption in UK Politics?
The results show a crisis of trust in the political system:
- Of the people surveyed, 67 per cent view political parties as being affected by corruption, and 55 per cent believe that the British parliament has a corruption problem.
- 90 per cent believe that the UK Government is run by a few big entities acting in their own interest.
- Of the 91 per cent who would be willing to report corruption, 40 per cent would want to make that report to a government hotline – which currently does not exist.
- 62 per cent think the Government’s actions are ineffective in tackling corruption
5 per cent of UK respondents have paid a bribe in the last 12 months - a jump since Transparency International's 2010 survey, when only 1 per cent reported as such.
The good news is that 68 percent believe that ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption, and 91 per cent would be willing to take action.
What needs to change?
Despite several warning signals over the past five years, the UK has been complacent about corruption. The result is now beginning to show, and some recent actions, like the abolition of the Audit Commission, are likely to make the situation worse.
We need the Government to accept there is a problem in the UK rather than claiming it is only a problem overseas. This means having someone specifically in charge of tackling corruption; undertaking a national corruption risk assessment; drawing up a national action plan; and making sure that all areas of the public sector have in place the kind of anti-corruption procedures that the government expects of the private sector. People have been surprised that the first prosecutions under the 2010 Bribery Act were for offences in the UK – our survey suggests it is not such a surprise, but the Government has not been paying sufficient attention to this disturbing trend.
- 27 per cent of respondents have paid a bribe when accessing public services and institutions in the last 12 months.
- Nearly 9 out of 10 people surveyed said they would act against corruption and two-thirds of those who were asked to pay a bribe had refused.
- 36 countries view police as the most corrupt, and in those countries an average of 53 per cent of people had been asked to pay a bribe to the police. 20 countries view the judiciary as the most corrupt.
- Politicians have much to do to regain trust. In 51 countries around the world, political parties are seen as the most corrupt institution. 55 per cent of respondents think government is run by special interests.
- Around the world, people’s appraisal of their leaders’ efforts to stop corruption is worse than before the financial crisis began in 2008, when 31 per cent said their government’s efforts to fight corruption were effective. This year it fell to 22 per cent.
The full results are available here
Each day this week we will be taking a different aspect of the survey results, analyzing emerging trends and looking at what they mean for the UK.