Development Committee report recommends whole-of-government approach to tackling corruption overseas

25 October 2016

The House of Commons International Development Select Committee (IDC) has published a report on its inquiry into DFID’s work on tackling corruption overseas.

Acknowledging that corruption has a devastating impact on the lives of people around the world, the report emphasises the need for a ‘whole of government’ approach towards anti-corruption efforts, to ensure that the actions of all parts of the Government reinforce the fight against corruption.

Recommendations from the IDC include:

  • Policy coherence on anti-corruption to establish an effective approach across government and ensure that other government departments don’t undermine DFID’s efforts to reduce corruption in developing countries.
  • The UK must use the full weight of its influence to lobby the UK’s Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies to increase transparency by creating public company ownership registers.
  • The Government should publically commit to making country by country reporting by UK-based multinational enterprises public, to enable non-governmental stakeholders in developing countries to hold the companies—and their governments— to account if appropriate levels of tax are not being paid.
  • Government should conduct due diligence on money laundered through the UK to ensure that companies are paying their fair share of tax.
  • Welcoming the government’s announcement to develop an Anti-Corruption Strategy to accompany the UK Anti-Corruption Plan, the IDC recommends the appointment of Cabinet-level Anti-Corruption Champion.
  • International tax discussions must be fully reflective of the concerns of developing countries, which is not currently happening in current discussions through the OECD. 
  • While welcoming the introduction of DFID’s anti-corruption country strategies, IDC recommends greater flexibility in the length of strategies to tackle the complexities of corruption more effectively and recommends they be over a longer time-frame.
  • The need for a long-term approach is especially emphasised in relation to DFID’s anti-corruption strategies in fragile states, where tackling corruption requires significant time and investment to create positive change.

The report concludes that the Government’s work in tackling corruption overseas must reach beyond concerns of costs to the UK’s economy, to reach countries and people around the world who are held in poverty by corruption.

Read the full report.