Integrity Management, Promoting Accountability and Transparency - IMPACT
Managing Integrity at Home and around the Globe
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Integrity Management
 

Managing integrity in any organisation is an important part of an effective operation. Ensuring that an organisation’s personel operate in the interests of the organisation and not for their own private gain is crucial for establishing an effective system of internal control and resource management. Corruption will appear in an environment that allows any individual to manipulate lax operating or resource distribution procedures. IMPACT believes that the solution to internal institutional corruption lies squarely on the effectiveness of an integrity management system that is flexible enough to incorporate external audits to achieve accurate financial reporting.

 

Integrity Management involves the establishment of a system that:

  • identifies the opportunities for engaging in malfeasance
  • develops and implements effective strategies to mitigate those opportunities
  • strengthens internal control through the detection and prevention of  corrupt acts

Within the Public Sector of institutionally weak governments, each department often has some common, and a number of unique, opportunities that allow its staff to engage in corrupt practices. These lapses of integrity involve the failure to resolve a conflict of interest between a public servant’s official and private interests. Other areas of vulnerability include the misappropriation of funds and resources; and bribes paid to obtain services or influence decision making. The nature of corruption that occurs within the public sector has a number of different causes that while less common in developed countries, are not solely unique to transitional and developing states.

 

Within developing and transitional states, root causes of corruption include:

  • misuse of office or official resources due to insufficient management and control in the current system ;
  • misuse of office by officials due to an insufficient budget allocation or the means to execute normal operations effectively; and
  • misuse of office to obtain funds beyond those necessary for normal operations, funds that  can then be siphoned off for private gain.      

To manage integrity within the public sector, these situations need to be addressed with measures and policies designed by those that will be involved in their enforcement.

    Accountability 
     

    The term ’accountability’ literally means ‘to be responsible.’ A democratic public administration has its legitimacy from - and should be accountable to - the people. When applied to governance processes, ‘being accountable’ means that budgeting, government expenditure and policy formation, as well as the passing of legislation should be to the benefit of the whole population and not the select few.

     

    Accountability can be increased by establishing mechanisms for oversight and control, in addition to incentives for better performance. Accountability is enforced through public advocacy for civil servants to act fairly, honestly and conduct their business in a transparent manner. Public education, increased oversight capacity and citizen mobilization are core elements in increasing accountability.

     

    IMPACT assists in increasing external accountability through educating and mobilizing citizens through research as well as advocacy activities and strengthens the capacity of oversight and anti-corruption agencies to hold Government accountable to itself and the public.

     

    The IMPACT team has worked to enhance accountability systems around the globe from building civil society organisation in the former Soviet Union, Southeast Asia and Middle east to building capacity of state Anti-Corruption Agencies in wide-range of countries including Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Afghanistan, Macedonia and currently in Kyrgyzstan.

     
    Transparency

     

    Increased transparency – through both external and internal oversight of operations – increases the risk of engaging in corrupt activities. The term ‘transparency’ refers to the clarity that is essential in the dealings and actions of an institution. Transparency sheds light on secrets, on underhanded dealings and on covert practices.

     

    Increasing transparency is reliant on a number of tools of which the most important is freedom of access to information on the decision-making processes and activities of an institution. Providing access of information in how policies are made and implemented builds trust in public bodies. 

     

    Numerous factors contribute to the maintenance of transparency within institutions and within organisations. These include:
    • Free Media who are able to scrutinise and report on government activities
    • Disclosure systems – including asset disclosures of public officials, complaint mechanisms and effective whistleblower protection.
    • Strong and independent oversight agencies.
    • A system which provides easy access to information regarding the activities and the decision-making processes of government institutions
    • Independent accountability mechanisms, such as an office of the Ombudsman empowered to investigate complaints of malpractice against the government and state institutions
    To increase transparency within institutions and organisations including Government, IMPACT promotes the easy access of information regarding the activities of such bodies. One of the primary aspects of this process is certifying that institutions keep accurate records of decisions made regarding the allocation and distribution of resources, as well as of the processes that led to those decisions. The availability of reliable information is crucial to ensuring the effectiveness of many anti-corruption measures, including the work of supreme audit institutions, ombudsmen, and complaints and oversight mechanisms. Additionally IMPACT promotes transparency in the natural resources sector through supporting the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative and promoting the publishing of production agreements between extractive industries firms and the respective Governments.

     

    As such, governments should be required to actively inform their citizens of the rights conferred upon them by freedom of information and privacy legislation. IMPACT is working to make this happen.