11 December 2017

London, 11 December 2017 - The Bond Anti-Corruption Group welcomes the new Government Anti-Corruption Strategy, launched today, and calls for effective and prompt implementation. 

The Strategy – which lays out the Government’s plans to tackle domestic and international corruption – was a key UK Government commitment at the 2016 Anti-Corruption Summit. The Bond Anti-Corruption Group, a coalition of British Non-Governmental Organisations – has been campaigning for the implementation of this commitment for the last 18 months.

In particular, the Group welcomes the following:

  • The appointment of a new Anti-Corruption Champion after a six-month vacancy
  • The creation of new Ministerial position in the Home Office to lead the charge in tackling economic crime and the commitment to coordinate the fight against economic crime more effectively.  
  • The retention of the Serious Fraud Office as a key enforcement agency, and recognition of its important role in fighting bribery
  • The commitment to prioritise anti-corruption provisions in any future trade agreements and ensure that the UK’s place in the world after Brexit is founded on integrity and rule of law.
  • The breadth and remit of the strategy which covers both domestic and international corruption, and shows how the two elements meet. 
  • The commitment from the Government to report on progress against the strategy to parliament on an annual basis

The Bond group calls on the Government to follow up these commitments with effective implementation, including ensuring outstanding commitments from the 2016 Anti-Corruption Summit are implemented at the earliest possible opportunity. The Bond Group also feels that in several places the Strategy doesn’t go far enough - for example, on transparency in the Overseas Territories, corruption in UK politics, golden visas and on a criminal corporate liability offence.

Hera Hussain, co-chair of the Bond Anti-Corruption Group said: “In the wake of the Panama and Paradise Papers, and incoming Brexit, it is ever important to recognise that UK financial centres are at the epicentre of money laundering and more work needs to be done to make Britain a place for clean business. The UK Anti-Corruption Strategy is an important step but we would like to see stronger implementation of transparency commitments from open contracting to beneficial ownership transparency for overseas territories and trusts.”

Rachel Davies Teka, co-chair of the Bond Anti-Corruption Group said: “This is a strong start, but now the action must follow the words. Civil Society will be watching closely to see how and when the commitments laid out here are implemented. Of key importance, the Government should table legislation to implement the promised public register of the true owners of overseas companies owning UK property and bidding for government contracts as soon as possible.”

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

1. For further information or interviews with Hera Hussain or Rachel Davies Teka, co-chairs of the Bond Anti-Corruption Group,  please contact hhussain@open-contracting.org / 07403 442 852, rachel.davies@transparency.org.uk / 07411 347 754

2. The Bond Anti-Corruption Group is made up of likeminded British NGOs who, through their work, witness the devastating effects of corruption on society.

3. The Group has the following core members: Article 19, CAFOD, Christian Aid, Corruption Watch, Global Witness, ONE, Open Contracting Partnership, Public Concern at Work, The Corner House, The Sentry, and Transparency International UK.

4. At the 2016 Anti-Corruption Summit, the Government committed to publish an Anti-Corruption Strategy by the end of 2016.

5. Bond is the UK network for organisations working in international development. Bond unites and supports a diverse network of over 450 civil society organisations and allies to help eradicate global poverty, inequality and injustice