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United Kingdom Anti-Corruption Strategy 2017-2022

International Compliance Association

Big Compliance Conversation , Corruption , Financial Crime Prevention

The UK Government recently published their strategy for addressing the effects of corruption across the UK, which will provide a framework to guide the government’s anti-corruption policies and actions. It also underpins the current government’s strengthened focus on economic crime. We thought we’d take a look at some of the key elements.

The Value of Reputation

This work to combat corruption contributes towards the UK government’s three long-term outcomes:

  • a reduced threat to national security, including from instability caused by corruption overseas
  • increased prosperity at home and abroad, including for UK businesses
  • enhanced public confidence in domestic and international institutions

The UK projects a reputation for integrity that underpins its ability to boost trade and attract investment. There has, however, also been criticism of the UK in respect of it being a destination for corrupt funds (particularly in the London property market). This new strategy sets out actions to ‘strengthen the UK’s reputation and secure long-term prosperity’.

The strategy has identified six priorities that will be the focus between now and 2022:

  1. Reduce the insider threat in high-risk domestic sectors
  2. Strengthen the integrity of the UK as an international financial centre
  3. Promote integrity across the public and private sectors
  4. Reduce corruption in public procurement and grants
  5. Improve the business environment globally
  6. Work with other countries to combat corruption

Meeting the Priorities

Below is an illustration of how the UK government is planning to meet each of these priorities:

What commitments are made?

The strategy makes a strong commitment to promoting a fair and rules-based business environment globally, working directly with governments, international organisations and businesses to raise standards, strengthen capacity and reduce opportunities for corrupt practices so that businesses can compete on even terms.

In recent years, media coverage of corruption in business, politics and sport have shown the need to promote integrity across our public and private sectors. Taking action to reduce corrupt activity is also acknowledged as more cost-effective than enforcement action being taken against corrupt individuals.

One of the objectives of this strategy is to ensure that the UK as a financial centre, develops a reputation for integrity that world leading and that it becomes ‘hostile to illicit finance’. Whether this is ultimately achievable remains to be seen, but it is a laudable target nonetheless.

The strategy will also seek to enhance the anti-money laundering systems in the UK, ensuring that professionals working within the financial sector uphold higher standards. So it is again good to see more of a joined-up approach being considered.

The strategy will be guided by the following four approaches:

  • Protect against corruption, by building open and resilient organisations across the public and private sectors
  • Prevent people from engaging in corruption, including strengthening professional integrity
  • Pursue and punish the corrupt, strengthening the ability of law enforcement, criminal justice and oversight bodies to investigate, prosecute and sanction wrongdoers
  • Reduce the impact of corruption where it takes place, including redress from injustice caused by corruption

And the Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Champion will take responsibility for helping drive delivery of the strategy as well as representing the government’s anti-corruption agenda in the UK and internationally. So it certainly seems to be getting high-level support from the upper echelons in the UK.

You should try take a read of the report yourself and consider any implications it may have. It’ll also be interesting to look out for any commentary from NGOs and anti-corruption campaigners – then we’ll see if this strategy ultimately translates into reality.

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Find out more about the ICA Certificate in Anti-Corruption today. 


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