The European Commission published a collection of best practices companies and compliance officers might find useful to combat corruption.
The guide, called the “Handbook of Good Practices in the Fight Against Corruption,” is composed of 27 ideas, initiatives, or practical advice—representing one from each European Union member state—to prevent bribery and corruption and improve transparency, accountability, and good corporate governance. It was published Feb. 15.
Case studies highlighted in the handbook include a new data analysis tool in Finland that assists law enforcement agencies to process large quantities of data so cases that require more detailed investigation can be more easily identified, while Slovenia introduced a system where different key databases have been merged to create a “one-stop shop” mechanism to help combat economic crime and make public information more easily accessible to citizens. Slovakia, meanwhile, has taken steps to improve transparency around beneficial owners of companies.
The guide is a mixture of well-established practices and innovative solutions to new—and old—problems and is split into eight categories:
- Transparency and open data: promoting better access to information, disclosure, and “initiatives which facilitate the free and proactive release of large volumes of information held in government databases in formats and under conditions that permit reuse”;
- Citizen engagement to help shape anti-corruption initiatives and prioritize focus;
- Collective action involving public-sector and private-sector groups, such as the use of “integrity pacts” to establish “fair play” commitments in public procurement between government departments and bidding companies who agree to avoid bribery, corruption, or collusion;
- Promoting integrity through codes of ethics, tone from the top, and corporate culture;
- Better conflict-of-interest management and detection, particularly around contract bids and staff appointments;
- Anti-corruption strategy, such as how companies can use intervention-, managerial-, and integrity-led approaches to combat corrupt practices;
- Work and progress made by anti-corruption agencies; and
- Better detection and investigation of corruption, such as by encouraging and facilitating whistleblowing.
The European Commission—which has plans to introduce a directive on combating corruption through criminal law—hopes the handbook will help government agencies and companies overcome challenges and identify weak spots in anti-corruption measures and policies, as well as allow them to see the progress different countries are making using the same, similar, or even different approaches.