Advanced economies have little requirements around disclosures for employees such as judges, prosecutors, political advisors and senior staff members working in “at risk” sectors such as tax, customs, public procurement and financial authorities.
“Any sense of a tolerance of conflicts of interest among public officials undermines trust,” said OECD Deputy Secretary-General Mari Kiviniemi, in a statement. “Ensuring transparency and accountability is key to restoring faith in governments.”
The report titled, Government at a Glance 2015, collected data from 36 advanced and emerging economies and presents some 50 indicators, which compares government performances in areas such as public finance, staffing, education, healthcare and the justice systems.
Conflict of interest remains a hotly contested topic. The report found that most countries permit an employee working in the private sector to also take up a public position in the same area they once provided a service or acted as a supplier. This is an area of emerging concern as conflict of interest issues are usually at the heart of corrupt behavior. The OECD study said that individual resilience to fight corruption is strengthened through procedures that effectively manage conflict of interest, including private interest disclosure by decision makers, follow-up disclosures, and active enforcement in cases of non-compliance.
Whistleblower protection laws are falling short in some OECD countries. Only 41 percent of those surveyed have whistleblower protection laws in place for employees who come forward about wrongdoing. Countries such as Austria, Belgium, Korea and the United States reward whistleblowers who come forward with high-quality original information that leads to an enforcement action. The OECD recommends that some countries need a comprehensive, dedicated law that protects whistleblowers from retaliation.