UK Anti-Corruption Plan unveiled by coalition Government

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has launched the UK Anti-Corruption Plan

The Department for Business Innovation and Skills has launched the UK Anti-Corruption Plan

A wide-ranging and ambitious programme specifically designed to boost the UK’s ability to tackle corruption at home and abroad has been announced by the coalition Government.

The UK Anti-Corruption Plan, which includes over 60 actions for Government and partners, will set the strategic direction for all anti-corruption activity over the coming year and ensure greater collaboration and consistency across both the public and private sectors.

The plan, which paints a comprehensive picture of the threat to the UK from corruption, will highlight ways in which safeguards are being reinforced within key sectors and institutions, including the criminal justice system and associated professions.

By enhancing the response of law enforcement agencies, it will also ensure individuals involved in bribery and corruption – or those who hide their illicit assets in the UK – are relentlessly pursued and brought to justice.

Building on Prime Minister David Cameron’s commitments outlined at the G8 Lough Erne Summit last year, the plan also sets out how the coalition Government is doing more to increase transparency, tackle the scourge of money laundering and ensure that the UK is at the forefront of efforts to raise international standards.

The UK Anti-Corruption Plan’s delivery will be overseen and reviewed by an Inter-Ministerial Group chaired by Matthew Hancock (the Minister for Business, Enterprise and Energy and the Government’s ‘Anti-Corruption Champion’) and Karen Bradley, Minister for Modern Slavery and Organised Crime.

Grave threat to economic prosperity

“All the studies show that corruption is a grave threat to our economic prosperity and, indeed, our national security,” stated Matthew Hancock. “As host to what is one of the world’s largest financial centres, the UK has a moral duty and global responsibility to ensure that corrupt officials and organised criminals do not abuse our systems. We’re one of the least corrupt nations on earth, but we want to do more.”

Matthew Hancock MP

Matthew Hancock MP

Hancock added: “This new plan will make sure that we spearhead the international fight against corruption. Together with our international partners, we will push for robust action against corruption at every possible opportunity.”

Karen Bradley said: “The UK has far lower levels of corruption and bribery than most other countries around the world, but we cannot afford to be complacent. Corruption’s impact is hugely disproportionate to the level and frequency at which it occurs and can have a serious impact on public confidence in our institutions.”

Speaking about the Government’s move, Bradley asserted: “Our comprehensive UK Anti-Corruption Plan, which goes hand-in-hand with our Serious and Organised Crime Strategy, will bring greater co-ordination and coherence to existing activity and set a clear course for the future work of both Government and law enforcement agencies.”

Specifics of the Anti-Corruption Plan

Under the Anti-Corruption Plan, which has been developed as part of the second Open Government Partnership National Action Plan, the:

*National Crime Agency will establish a specialist unit (including a multi-agency intelligence team) to tackle bribery and corruption head on

*Home Office will establish a new offence of police corruption and recently launched a consultation on measures to better protect police whistle-blowers

*Treasury and Home Office will complete a national risk assessment on money laundering and terrorist financing, subsequently addressing any issues it highlights through an Anti-Money Laundering Action Plan

*Department for International Development will formulate plans to launch an international rapid response team to provide expert assistance on mutual legal assistance and asset recovery for those countries undergoing regime change

*Cabinet Office will work with civil society groups to improve transparency and open data to reduce opportunities for corruption

*Foreign & Commonwealth Office will develop a ‘toolkit’ of interventions with the aim of tackling international corruption cases and raising global standards

UK Government’s key priorities going forward

The UK is ranked as one of the least corrupt of the 170 countries listed on Transparency International’s most recent annual ‘Corruption Perceptions Index’.

Karen Bradley MP

Karen Bradley MP

The Government has taken a number of steps in recent years to tackle corruption and there are good structures and legislation in place such as the Bribery Act. The coalition has also published the aforementioned Serious and Organised Crime Strategy and established the National Crime Agency to enhance the nationwide response to serious forms of criminality, among them bribery and corruption.

The UK Anti-Corruption Plan highlights that the Government’s priorities are:

*to build a better picture of how corruption is affecting our society and economy

*to strengthen our legal and operational tools and activity

*enhance our law enforcement response

*deny the use of our financial system for those who are trying to abuse it

*step up our efforts on the international stage

About the Author
Brian Sims BA (Hons) Hon FSyI, Editor, Risk UK (Pro-Activ Publications) Beginning his career in professional journalism at The Builder Group in March 1992, Brian was appointed Editor of Security Management Today in November 2000 having spent eight years in engineering journalism across two titles: Building Services Journal and Light & Lighting. In 2005, Brian received the BSIA Chairman’s Award for Promoting The Security Industry and, a year later, the Skills for Security Special Award for an Outstanding Contribution to the Security Business Sector. In 2008, Brian was The Security Institute’s nomination for the Association of Security Consultants’ highly prestigious Imbert Prize and, in 2013, was a nominated finalist for the Institute's George van Schalkwyk Award. An Honorary Fellow of The Security Institute, Brian serves as a Judge for the BSIA’s Security Personnel of the Year Awards and the Securitas Good Customer Award. Between 2008 and 2014, Brian pioneered the use of digital media across the security sector, including webinars and Audio Shows. Brian’s actively involved in 50-plus security groups on LinkedIn and hosts the popular Risk UK Twitter site. Brian is a frequent speaker on the conference circuit. He has organised and chaired conference programmes for both IFSEC International and ASIS International and has been published in the national media. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk UK at Pro-Activ Publications in July 2014 and as Editor of The Paper (Pro-Activ Publications' dedicated business newspaper for security professionals) in September 2015. Brian was appointed Editor of Risk Xtra at Pro-Activ Publications in May 2018.

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