The majority of public integrity tools focus, in one way or another, on what is being done to control corruption in the public sector, both in law and in practice8. Among these different ‘anti-corruption’ tools a distinction can be made between system wide approaches and those which focus on specific institutions and actors within the system:
- System-wide approaches involve assessing the existence, feasibility, effectiveness and coherence of institutions, systems and mechanisms for promoting ethics and countering corruption in the public service – often referred to as the ‘integrity system’ or ‘ethics infrastructure’9. This usually involves evaluating the performance of, and relationship between, institutions relevant to combating corruption at national level (e.g. executive, legislature, judiciary, oversight institutions etc)10. Increasingly the approach is also being adapted and applied at the sub-national level11. Finally, whilst not strictly a system-wide approach, a number of tools assess and compare the level of integrity among public sector institutions12.
- Institutional assessments take a more targeted approach by assessing the role, capacity and/or effectiveness of specific anti-corruption related institutions, such as anti-corruption agencies13 or internal oversight and regulatory bodies within public sector agencies14. An alternative, but related approach, is to focus on corruption risks within specific public institutions15. Risk assessments aim to identify the preconditions for corruption which exist in a particular institution as well as broad ‘risk factors’ or ‘red flags’ that are assumed to increase the risk of corruption in the public sector. Risk assessments sometimes also make an assessment of the actual incidence of corruption in the institution, as an indicator of the seriousness of any risks of future corruption. The risk assessment process can help to identify those issues on which to focus in more depth. Finally, assessments of organisational culture and ethics in the public sector involve reviewing values, behaviours and specific individual actions often to identify potential conflicts of interest among public officials. Whilst a conflict of interest does not necessarily indicate corruption, it may present a greater risk for corrupt conduct to occur16.
As well as these anti-corruption tools, there are also a smaller number of tools which focus on diagnosing corruption in the public sector17. These tend to elicit citizen and/or private sector perceptions of integrity and corruption through the use of surveys. Such surveys tend to differ from standard public corruption surveys in that they focus on institutions rather than individuals by targeting users of government services to capture their perceptions and/or experiences of corruption when interacting with public bodies.
8 Public Sector Integrity: A Framework for Assessment ▪ National Integrity System Assessments ▪ A Rapid Anti-Corruption Assessment Technique for USAID/Africa
9 This is sometimes in the context of monitoring the implementation of anti-corruption conventions, covered in the Conventions Monitoring Topic Guide (coming soon)
10 Public Sector Integrity: A Framework for Assessment ▪ National Integrity System Assessments ▪ Global Integrity Report ▪ Reconstruction National Integrity System Survey ▪ Índice de Integridad de las Instituciones Públicas de Panamá
11 Local Governance Toolkit ▪ Local Integrity Systems: Analysis and Assessment
12 Índice de Transparencia de las Entidades Públicas de Panama
13 Methodology for Assessing the Capacities of Anti-Corruption Agencies to Perform Preventive Functions ▪ How to Monitor and Evaluate Anti-corruption Agencies: Guidelines for Agencies, Donors, and Evaluators
14 Bangladesh Public Service Commission: A Diagnostic Study ▪ Study on the Implementation of the Decisions of the Chamber of Accounts and Integrity of Its Auditors (Moldova)
15 Project Against Corruption in Albania (PACA): Corruption Risk Assessment Methodology Guide ▪ Corruption Risk Assessment in Public Institutions
16 Managing Conflict of Interest in the Public Sector. A Toolkit ▪ Managing Conflicts of Interest in the Public Sector (Australia)
17 Global Corruption Barometer ▪ Corruption in the Western Balkans: Bribery as Experienced by the Population ▪ Integrity Perceptions Index (Korea) ▪ National Corruption Perception Survey (Kenya) ▪ Governance and Corruption Diagnostic Surveys