Press release 27th Jan 2016

Time for serious action by the UK on corruption

Dominic Kavakeb 
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UK’s return to the top ten of Corruption Perceptions Index carries both risks and opportunities

27th January 2016, London – An improvement of four places from 14th to 10th in Transparency International’s (TI) Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) is an opportunity for the UK to lead on global corruption at the Prime Minister's forthcoming Anti-Corruption Summit in May - but carries the risk that if he fails to deliver, the UK will once again sink down the rankings.

Transparency International has warned that to be a world-leader on anti-corruption efforts, the UK must also ensure its own house is in order.  Measures should include:

  • Strengthen the UK's anti-money laundering defences - stop the UK being a safe haven for the corrupt.
  • Clean up British politics - ensure proper standards of parliamentary integrity and improve regulation of lobbying, the revolving door and party funding.
  • Improve transparency – introduce transparency over beneficial ownership of companies and property, both in the UK and in the Overseas Territories, and strengthen the Freedom of Information Act
  • Effective law enforcement - ensure the Serious Fraud Office has sufficient resources to do the job.

Dr. Robert Barrington, Transparency International UK (TI-UK) Executive Director, said:

“The long-awaited return of the UK to the top ten of this index is a positive sign that fighting corruption is a growing priority for the Government.   The Prime Minister's personal commitments on corruption, the introduction of a national Anti-Corruption Plan and an improved record at the Serious Fraud Office will all have contributed to this improved score.  All eyes are now on the planned Anti-Corruption Summit in May, where rhetoric must translate into a serious plan of action.”

“But nobody should think that all is rosy in the UK.  Political corruption scandals, UK companies being accused of bribing overseas, the laundering of corrupt funds through the City and a lack of transparency over British controlled tax havens, will all contribute to raised eyebrows over this top ten ranking. It’s vital the UK gets its own house in order before it can claim to lead globally on tackling corruption.”

“The global results show that corruption continues to be rife around the world, but 2015 saw new grassroots movements challenging corruption. The UK must support those efforts and continue to promote institutional reform in those countries, supporting the citizens who are the victims of corruption.”

The global Story

Overall, two-thirds of the 168 countries on the 2015 index scored below 50, on a scale from 0 (perceived to be highly corrupt) to 100 (perceived to be very clean).

Brazil was the biggest decliner in the index, falling 5 points and dropping 7 positions to a rank of 76. The unfolding Petrobras scandal brought people into the streets in 2015 and the start of the related judicial process may help Brazil improve its score in future years. Denmark took the top spot for the 2nd year running, with North Korea and Somalia the worst performers, scoring just 8 points each.

The Corruption Perceptions Index, covering 168 countries, is based on expert opinions of public sector corruption. Countries’ scores can be helped by open government where the
public can hold leaders to account, while a poor score is usually a sign of prevalent bribery, lack of punishment for corruption, a poorly-functioning judiciary and public institutions that operate on behalf of a corrupt elite rather than the public.

Jose Ugaz, Chair of Transparency International, said:

“Corruption can be beaten if we work together. To stamp out the abuse of power, bribery and shed light on secret deals, citizens must together tell their governments they have had enough.” 

“The Corruption Perceptions Index 2015 clearly shows that corruption remains a blight around the world. But 2015 was also a year when people again took to the streets to protest corruption. People across the globe sent a strong signal to those in power: it is time to tackle grand corruption.”

This year Transparency International is calling on all people to take action by voting at We want to know which cases the public most believe merit urgent attention to send a message that we will take a stand against grand corruption.


Transparency International is the civil society organisation leading the fight against corruption.

Notes to Editor:

  • In the 2010 index the UK dropped to as low as 20th.
  • Last year and in 2013 the UK was 14th, from 17th in 2012.

Media Contact:

Dominic Kavakeb
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Chris Sanders
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