Press release 09th Dec 2011

UK falls foul of top 10 in corruption index

Dominic Kavakeb 
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The UK has once again failed to achieve a top ten ranking in Transparency International’s 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index released today.

9 December 2011 - The index scores 183 countries and territories from 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean) based on perceived levels of public sector corruption. It uses data from 17 surveys that look at factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws access to information and conflicts of interest.

The UK ranks at position 16, with a score of 7.8. Although the introduction of the UK Bribery Act has no doubt improved the UK’s ranking since last year, recent events such as the phone hacking scandal have shown that there are still too many areas of corruption vulnerability in the UK public sector.

Although there are several changes that must be made to improve public sector corruption, two are imperative:

1. Clean up politics – Recent scandals involving the movement of individuals between government and the private sector – such as the cases of Geoff Hoon and Andy Coulson – have highlighted the corruption vulnerabilities left open by the current system. Political party funding also needs reform as recently highlighted by the Kelly report.

2. Adequately acknowledge UK corruption problem – There is no individual or institution with the remit to coordinate a robust response to corruption in the UK – although ironically the government has an ‘overseas anti-corruption champion’.  This remit must be extended to cover domestic corruption.

Chandu Krishnan Executive Director of Transparency International UK said “Given the Government’s promise to commit to transparency, the UK should have progressed enough to be achieving a top five ranking.  However, practices that have been taken for granted for many years are still awaiting change, such as the willingness of politicians to accept corporate and media hospitality and ‘revolving door’ employment between major media companies, political offices and the police.”

Global results

Two thirds of ranked countries score less than 5.

New Zealand ranks first, followed by Finland and Denmark. Somalia and North Korea (included in the index for the first time), are last. Transparency International has warned that protests around the world, often fuelled by corruption and economic instability, clearly show citizens feel their leaders and public institutions are neither transparent nor accountable enough.

“This year we have seen corruption on protestors’ banners be they rich or poor. Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government,” said Huguette Labelle Chair of Transparency International.

Most Arab Spring countries rank in the lower half of the index, scoring below 4. Before the Arab Spring, a Transparency International report on the region warned that nepotism bribery and patronage were so deeply engrained in daily life that even existing anti-corruption laws had little impact.

Eurozone countries suffering debt crises partly because of public authorities’ failure to tackle the bribery and tax evasion that are key drivers of debt crisis, are among the lowest-scoring EU countries.

For the full ranking and regional tables, go to: