HSE University Anti-Corruption Portal
Findings of the Chandler Sessions on Integrity and Corruption Released
Natalia Gorbacheva, Vladislava Ozhereleva

The project Chandler Sessions on Integrity and Corruption* has published a number of analytical notes based on its three-year implementation.

1. Analytical report The World’s Anti-Corruption Efforts Need a Reset

The authors of the document put forward a hypothesis about the impossibility to eradicate corruption only via by judicial prosecution, highlighting that this mechanism allows curbing corruption only to a certain extent and is:

  • A long and complex process as regards corruption investigations, especially if high-ranking officials are involved in illegal activities; moreover, the prosecution starts after corruption offence is committed or either, in often cases, a long time after it is committed;
  • Focused on specific persons and acts rather than on general opportunities to commit corruption offences and on the established systems that allow these opportunities to be taken advantage of;
  • Inability to change the internal culture of a specific body (organisation), because prosecution is an external process to it and does not concern internal structures where corruption emerges.

In order to avoid the impact of these shortcomings, the report suggests a new approach towards countering corruption. It is based on the assumption that even in the countries where corruption is pervasive there are some authorities that have strong integrity culture. The authors therefore suggest adopting the measures to increase the number of such institutions by systematically identifying the causes of corruption in each body and subsequent implementation of the strategies aimed at eradicating it. To achieve this goal, the paper provides the following recommendations:

  • Develop the indicators of the level of corruption and prevalence of integrity culture in different bodies to track their progress;
  • Provide law enforcement bodies with the necessary independence also with a view to ensure their effective cooperation with the entities that counter corruption in good faith;
  • Delegate the responsibilities to conduct reforms to relatively restricted multifunctional working groups thereby decentralizing power and limiting the opportunities for abuse;
  • Engage civil society, academia and the business community in reforms in specific entities.

2. Analytical report The Next Generation of the Measurement of Corruption

The paper is centered on the improvement of existing approaches to measuring corruption.

The authors of the report point out that the existing indices and other international measurement instruments do not allow getting either the data necessary to undertake targeted reforms in the countries under review or the findings reflecting the effect of the anti-corruption measures already adopted. This is due to the fact that these instruments:

  • Are based on co-measurement and imply equating of practices, interactions and behaviours that have completely different meaning and consequences in different countries and cultures;
  • Are subject to external influence especially if they are dependent on the public opinion (the use of the findings of surveys as the input data);
  • Accentuate the measurement of payments made by the population of a number of countries for basic public services that are de-jure free;
  • Provide average evaluations that do not take account of the progress made by a specific body or in a specific area if there is a setback in other bodies and/or another area; as a result, it entails frustration of officials in the countries under review because their effort in countering corruption is not taken into consideration;
  • Often raise doubts about credibility of their measurements;
  • In most cases, do not provide recommendations on possible corrective action to eliminate the detected flaws;
  • Do not allow for comparing the results because define both corruption and the approaches to its measurement in a different manner, are based on different questions and scales of responses; as a result, they often provide different evaluations of the same jurisdictions.

To address these problems, the authors of the report suggest either to modify the existing instruments of measurement or to develop new ones, following these recommendations:

  • Use not only the findings of surveys, but objective corruption indicators as well, as they measure directly its scope and are based on the data gathered by authorities (for example, by law enforcement bodies, auditing agencies, courts and ombudsmen) to expertly define the frequency and the scope of its manifestation;
  • Develop indicators taking account of the specifics of the countries subject to evaluations; as a good example of such approach, the authors cite the efforts undertaken by the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission of the Republic of Korea (대한민국 국민권익위원회) and of the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission of Nigeria that have developed in-house systems to measure corruption and the conditions that favour it, taking into consideration the peculiarities of their national institutions and culture;
  • Include the indicators reflecting the results that can actually affect the measures adopted by the state in the evaluation;
  • Consider also the changes in the public administration that are not a direct result of the undertaken anti-corruption measures;
  • Focus on the conditions in the public and private sectors that can potentially create opportunities for corruption;
  • Promote sustainable cooperation among public authorities and civil society organisations on corruption measurement;
  • Pay attention to the routine operation of public officials and the value of simple steps to support the rule of law.

Furthermore, the following principles should be taken into account in developing the assessment indicators:

  • Focus on achieving the objectives in countering corruption rather than on the responsibility for the lack of achievements in this area;
  • Provide public officials who make decisions in anti-corruption with the sufficient and reliable information on the anti-corruption measures that can be adopted and their potential impact;
  • Focus on curbing corruption rather than eliminating it due to the likely counterproductive and unrealistic nature of the culture of “zero tolerance”;
  • Going forward, eventually assess the change in the effectiveness of the prevention measures;
  • In developing new indicators: take into consideration the existing international instruments of corruption measurement to detect the discrepancies between the public opinion and the official assessments of the scope of corruption;
  • Ensure the dynamism and interconnectedness of indicators;
  • Focus on the analysis of corruption trends and identification of the preventive measures to be adopted.

3. Analytical report Remediation Agreements for Corporate Corruption: A Canadian Perspective on the Role of Prosecution in Relation to corruption**

It is well known that the legislation of some countries provides for the possibility to conclude a remediation agreement with the organisation accused of a corruption offence; such an agreement normally provides for the payment of a fine and/or other financial sanctions by the organisation and a number of other additional conditions. In most English-speaking countries these agreements are called deferred prosecution agreements, while in Canada they are called remediation agreements.

These agreements are considered as favourable both for the offending company and the state. However, their value has been recently questioned also because the decisions of law enforcement on the cases related to corruption offences in the same company can be actually diametrically opposed.

In the authors’ opinion, the conclusion of such agreements is associated with a number of challenges, including:

  • Prosecutors’ responsibility to assess whether the measures undertaken against the organisations that have committed corruption offences that can imply either the conclusion of an agreement or court proceedings are in the public interest;
  • Too “tempting” an accommodating nature of the agreements that allows reducing the terms of criminal investigation and lower the threshold of evidence etc., which can push law enforcement to concluding agreements in the first place rather than to proceed with the prosecution without taking into account whether such a decision corresponds to the public interest;
  • Conviction of a number of prosecutors that monetary fines paid by the offending companies in the framework of the agreements is quite an effective measure and does not require any additional “official” liability.

The authors of the report suggest the following measures to address these problems:

  • Develop recommendations for prosecutors on how to define whether it is appropriate to conclude an agreement with the companies that commit corruption offences;
  • Decentralize the making of the decisions on the need to conclude agreements, for example, by engaging more officials who are involved in the assessment of offences at different stages, collegial discussion of the feasibility of an agreement or the possibility to revisit the decisions taken;
  • Consider establishing dedicated units in prosecution services responsible for concluding agreements;
  • Assess the effectiveness of such agreements in the cases related to corruption offences;
  • Shift the focus from the amount of fines paid under the agreements to the effect of other conditions outlined in the agreement on the corporate behaviour and culture of the company;
  • Oblige prosecutors to oversee how organisations comply with the terms of the agreements; in order to avoid imposing too heavy a burden on the prosecutors, it is recommended to grant them the right to appoint independent observers to achieve the respective objectives.

*The Chandler Sessions on Integrity and Corruption are an undertaking of the University College, Oxford, funded by the Chandler Foundation. It is a three-year programme launched in 2021, in the framework of which 15 senior officials of domestic anti-corruption bodies of different countries together with scholars and investigative journalists develop and test new-generation strategies aimed at enhancing integrity in society. The Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford, and other partners of the project disseminate the materials issued within it.

**In spite of the fact that the paper explores the mechanism of remediation agreements with regard to Canada, the authors suggest that the specifics they detected are not inherent only to that country and can be considered by other countries that have the possibility to conclude this sort of agreements as well.

Corruption measurement
Anti-corruption policies and strategies
Criminal prosecution

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