News 15th Feb 2021

Stopping Corruption, Promoting Integrity: a 10-year strategy for Transparency International UK

Daniel Bruce

Chief Executive

Daniel Bruce is Chief Executive of Transparency International UK. He leads the overall strategy of Transparency International UK across all programme and policy areas. He heads up the leadership team and serves as the organisation’s senior-most representative to governments, the private sector and in the media.

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Stopping Corruption, Promoting Integrity: Transparency International UK Strategy 2021-30


Since 1995, Transparency International UK has played a leading role in tackling corruption in the UK, Britain’s role in corruption overseas, and corruption in global sectors critical to international security and development.

We achieve this through impartial, evidence-based research, the design of new standards and solutions and the education of decision-makers. We drive change through constructive advocacy and by providing support and expertise to others aligned to our cause.

Our significant achievements to date include leading the campaign for the creation of the UK Bribery Act (2010), amongst the strongest international legislation on bribery. We secured the introduction of Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs) in the UK, which have been used by the police to seize the proceeds of corruption laundered through the UK. We created powerful benchmarking tools helping dozens of FTSE 100 companies significantly improve their anti-corruption programmes. We created a global Government Defence Integrity Index which is now relied on by governments and civil society to achieve accountable and transparent defence institutions. We supported the transformation of health procurement in several countries in Sub-Saharan Africa to prevent losses to corruption and ensure better access to medicines.

This strategy seeks to build on these strong foundations. It provides guiding principles to drive all of our programmes to achieve the greatest possible impact. It also underscores the need to address corruption with greater scale and ambition, across the UK and internationally.

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The evidence is clear: in the past year, corruption has flourished as the unscrupulous have rushed to cash in on a global pandemic as the need for a swift response has overwhelmed many governments worldwide. 

Transparency International estimates that US$1.1 billion of emergency funds was lost to corruption and malfeasance globally during the first six months of the pandemic alone. A Global Health system that was already losing US$500 bn a year to corruption, has come under extreme pressure. As vaccines are rolled out, there is troubling evidence that, too often, those willing to pay a bribe are allowed to jump the queue.

At home, as the UK seeks to emerge from the Covid-19 pandemic response, and years of negotiating a new relationship with the European Union, British institutions of democratic governance are visibly strained, and concerns about standards in public life widely voiced.

Business faces heightened corruption risks as it increases trade in emerging markets where public sector corruption is known to be higher than the EU, our focus for many years. In a world where those hostile to British interests are known to practice corruption as statecraft, lax attitudes to billions of pounds of illicit financial flows impacting on the UK economy risk leaving the door ajar to threats to our security too.

The list goes on. Quite simply, it is why the fight against corruption is more important than ever. 

This is the challenging backdrop to Transparency International UK’s ambitious new ten-year strategy, Stopping Corruption – Promoting Integrity, launching today.  Our new key objectives, Stopping the flow of Dirty Money, Protecting the Public’s Resources, Securing Integrity in Politics and Driving Integrity in Business will be familiar to those who follow our work. Yet our new strategy also sits under three important Strategic Goals: Advancing Policy, Improving Practice and Promoting Change.

This interconnected approach to our work will enable us to achieve more real impact in the fight against corruption in the UK and around the world. Our authoritative research will continue to delve deeply into each of our core areas.  But we will use our findings in a more focused way - to come up with more real-world solutions which we will promote through our advocacy to inform policy in the UK and globally. We will constantly monitor the uptake and implementation of our recommendations on public policy, political and private sector integrity. When put into practice, these new tools will help step up the fight corruption and, in time bring about more discernible change in the way business, politics and government and public services operate. 

We look forward to the next ten years, deeply informed by the 25 years’ experience in the rear-view mirror.  In that time, we have been the driving force behind the UK Bribery Act (2010), an international gold standard for anti-bribery legislation, Unexplained Wealth Orders (UWOs), used to investigate suspected proceeds of corruption laundered through the UK, and the development of benchmarking tools, used by FTSE 100 companies to improve their anti-corruption programmes. Globally, we have also created the Government Defence Integrity Index relied on by government and civil society to develop accountable and transparent defence institutions and helped countries to prevent corruption in health procurement, consequently ensuring better access to medicine. But there is still much more to do in each of these areas. 

Of course, corruption does not stand still. It constantly evolves to reflect society, among other things, its reliance on technology. To mirror that, an additional but critical theme of our new strategy will be incubating new projects and partnerships to combat novel forms of corruption. For instance, the opportunities and risks of using Artificial Intelligence (AI) in private sector corruption prevention, and the threats of increased corruption from digital currencies and payments.

We will also ensure that our work has ever deeper relevance to all nations and regions of the UK; recognising that laws and practices vary across the devolved administrations. We will also build upon recent work to address corruption risks in local government and the public sector at a more grassroots level.

It will be a challenge. But I believe this enhanced focus on solutions will make our work even more valuable. In time, I hope it will bring us closer to a world where those in authority and in business act with integrity, those in government only act in the public interest, and to a place where there is no impunity for the corrupt at home or abroad. 

You can read our new strategy here. Then, to help us on this journey I would invite you to support us in our vital work by joining the Friends of Transparency International UK.