Press release 19th Sep 2017

As UK negotiates Brexit, Anti-Corruption Strategy more vital than ever

Dominic Kavakeb 
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As UK negotiates Brexit, Anti-Corruption Strategy more vital than ever
Failure to launch strategy undermining UK efforts post Anti-Corruption Summit

19th September 2017, London – The UK has not met its own deadline on three of its 16 promises made at the Anti-Corruption Summit in 2016, including the crucial step of introducing a national Anti-Corruption Strategy.

Transparency International has analysed progress on 384 commitments made by 27 countries and organisations, with the UK generally comparing favourably having fully completed six of its promises. However, in addition to the three that are overdue, there is no public evidence of activity on a further three pledges since the Summit more than 15 months ago.

Amongst the overdue commitments, is the development of a “cross-government” and “long-term” strategy for fighting corruption that was due to be in place by the end of last year. Since missing this deadline there has been no indication by the Government of when this is to be expected.

The Panama Papers, just a month before the Summit last year, exposed the need for transparency on the true owners of companies, especially those purchasing high-end UK property. The UK completed its promise to implement a public register revealing the true owners of UK based companies, and the commitment to do the same for overseas companies purchasing property or bidding for UK Government contracts is underway. The Government has said it will introduce legislation on this by April 2018, although worryingly no assurances were made in the most recent Queens Speech.

Despite hosting the Summit, states like Spain and Indonesia have seen more progress than the UK. Nearly three quarters of Spain’s 27 commitments are complete, whilst 16 of Indonesia’s 19 promises have been fulfilled.

Rachel Davies Teka, Head of Advocacy at Transparency International UK, said:

“The UK has made some positive changes on the back of the Anti-Corruption Summit and we welcome them. But more progress was expected and we hope to see that materialise soon, with an anti-corruption strategy that this country can be proud of, and serious movement on a public register of the true owners of overseas companies buying up UK property.”

“This was a landmark Summit, hosted by the UK Government, and current events accentuate the need for the UK to fulfil its outstanding objectives. Brexit gives cause to the UK to ensure its defences against corruption are as tight as they can be. As complex deals are negotiated, new legislation is penned and the trade focus shifts, it’s vital that the UK upholds the highest standards of integrity, rather than be part of a post-Brexit race to the bottom.”

“Introducing a serious government-wide strategy to combat corruption would be a clear signal that this Government will tackle the corrosive impact of corruption both at home and abroad.”

Key stats from Transparency International’s analysis include: 

  • 17% of commitments by states and organisations at the Summit are complete
  •  31% of commitments are either inactive or overdue
  • More than half the commitments are underway or ongoing.
  • Spain has completed 74 % of its pledges, whilst Indonesia 84%
  •  38% of the UK’s commitments are either overdue or inactive, whilst another 38% have been completed.
  • Afghanistan has completed 0 of its commitments, with 60% inactive – despite making very ambitious pledges at the Summit.



Dominic Kavakeb

020 3096 7695

+44 79 6456 0340