By acceding to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), countries have demonstrated their willingness to fight corruption. The Articles of Chapter II of the Convention pave the way to building integrity in the public sector. The preventive policies covered by the Convention include measures for both the public and private sectors. These include, among others, transparent procurement and sound financial management, a merit-based civil service including clear conflict of interests regimes, effective access to public information, active involvement of both civil society and the private sector to prevent and combat corruption.
In view of better implementing the provisions of the UNCAC, the public sector needs to be empowered on how to integrate integrity management principles in its day-to-day operations. Integrity Management is fundamental to the effective fight against corruption and depends on the appropriate knowledge, skills and attitudes of those who are entrusted with the task of fighting corruption and other malpractices.
This Integrity Management Toolkit focuses on public sector integrity and is meant to guide Integrity Officers in fostering a culture of integrity in their respective organisations. It is based on the outcome of the Advanced Training for Integrity Officers conducted in August 2015 and facilitated by Mrs. Claudia Sayago, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer at the Corruption and Economic Branch of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The suggestions of Integrity Officers, the outcome of the group work and the issues raised by resource persons and participants have been incorporated in the toolkit as far as possible.
Effective use of this toolkit by Integrity officers will no doubt enhance their understanding of public sector corruption and reduce its impact on the organisation. The Toolkit paves the way for an integrated model of public sector governance where effectiveness, efficiency, transparency, accountability, integrity, effective controls and ethics would be the norm, thus, making both management and staff allies in the consolidation of an ethical organisational culture. The toolkit also aims at empowering Integrity Officers to better recognise instances of corruption risks and other risks of malpractices and to respond by taking appropriate remedial measures promptly.
The toolkit applies to public sector institutions, parastatal bodies and state-owned institutions. Its objective is to empower Integrity Officers in the establishment of a culture of integrity in their organisations. Unit 1 sets out the importance of public sector integrity and the pivotal role of Integrity Officers in achieving excellence. Unit 2 focuses on effective checks and balances to promote transparency and accountability in the organisation and to detect any abuse of office. Unit 3 deals with the reinforcement of public sector integrity and prompts Public Officers to reflect on “why there is often a higher perception of corruption in the public sector and what could be done to reverse this perception”. Whilst Unit 4 puts forth some comprehensive checklists to assist Integrity Officers to further understand their environment, assess existing and potential risks, mitigate such risks and consolidate organisational integrity, Unit 5 describes numerous best practices and guidelines to serve as self-assessment tools for the enhancement of integrity of systems and procedures in public bodies.
In order to promote a culture of integrity, coherent efforts are required to define expected standards of conduct, provide guidance and incentives, as well as monitor daily practice to ensure compliance. Proactive efforts are necessary to anticipate risks to integrity, identify sources of corruption and apply tailored countermeasures. Transparency is increasingly being used as an instrument to foster accountability and control in the functioning of public bodies to reinforce public trust. This toolkit will be of considerable value to Integrity Officers in pursuing their objectives.
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