News 12th May 2017

One Year On: What’s Happened since the 2016 Anti-Corruption Summit?

Jameela Raymond

Senior Policy Officer

Jameela is TI-UK’s Senior Policy Officer, working closely on coordinating UK and international anti-corruption policies and collaborating with civil society organisations and policy experts around the world. Jameela was previously TI-UK’s Public Engagement Officer (2014-2016), and recently completed her MSc in Globalisation and Latin American Development at UCL. She is enthusiastic about issues of development, politics, race, gender, equality and diversity.

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This time last year the international anti-corruption community was focused on the world’s first Anti-Corruption Summit – an event that brought together 43 governments, represented by 11 Heads of Government, 5 international organisations and a range of civil society and business leaders.

The Summit was significant for a number of reasons. Not only was it made accessible for civil society and business representatives, but it was interactive and completely live-streamed. The 43 governments made 648 commitments in total, around half of which were concrete and a third of which were new and ambitious. Some of the most exciting and ambitious commitments include

  • 11 countries pledged to explore or establish public registers of beneficial ownership
  • 12 countries made promises around penalties against professional enablers for tax evasion
  • 14 countries committed to strengthen whistleblower protections, or to establish secure mechanisms for citizens to report corruption
  • 13 countries promised to implement the Open Contracting Data Standard, with four countries (Nigeria, Mexico, Argentina and Malta) committing to applying open contracting in their national health systems
  • 14 countries pledged to work together to develop and establish an International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre, to collaborate on anti-corruption investigations across borders
  • 17 countries committed to support or participate in an Anti-Corruption Innovation Hub, which will bring together social innovators and data scientists with anti-corruption stakeholders to develop innovative approaches to tackling corruption
  • 7 countries agreed to participate in the Global Form on Asset Recovery, which will focus on asset repatriation to Tunisia, Sri Lanka, Ukraine and Nigeria
  • 15 countries committed to join or participate in the International Sport Integrity Partnership, which was launched in Lausanne in February 2017

All in all, for anyone who works in anti-corruption,  the Summit was a very special occasion; significant and unique enough for us to call it a success just a few months later. But all of the effort that went into the event will be considered nothing more than grandstanding if action isn’t taken on delivering the commitments made.

This is exactly why we made our UK Anti-Corruption Pledge Tracker. We wanted to develop a tool that would publicly monitor the work that the UK Government is doing to fulfil 15 of its commitments made at the Summit. And where there was no formal follow-up mechanism in place to capture progress on all of the Summit commitments, we wanted to support implementation with a civil society-led accountability tool. The Pledge Tracker is based on publicly available evidence, in an effort to encourage each government department to proactively publish details on their anti-corruption efforts. So how far as the UK come on anti-corruption in the last 12 months?

The good

Five of the fifteen commitments are now marked as ‘complete’. These include the public register of UK-registered companies’ beneficial ownership, which was the first in the world, and the implementation of the Open Contracting Data Standard. The UK also completed its IMF Fiscal Transparency Evaluationand completed its consultation on Unexplained Wealth Orders, which are now embedded in law through the 2017 Criminal Finances Act.

The not-so-good

There is no public evidence of any progress on five of the UK’s pledges, and three of the commitments being tracked are overdue. This isn’t good enough.

The UK’s commitment to develop the International Sport Integrity Partnership is marked as complete, but it is also marked with a ‘thumbs down’ symbol. This is because although the Partnership was launched in February, there has been no public evidence of the UK’s role in setting it up. There is also no information about which other governments or organisations are in the Partnership, nor is there public detail on what practical steps the Partnership will take to reduce corruption in sport.

The disappointments

The UK Anti-Corruption Strategy was scheduled to be published by the end of 2016, but there’s still no sign of it. 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. It is my hope that a world-class strategy will be launched soon after the election.

You can see the full UK Anti-Corruption Pledge Tracker at