Journal of Curbing Corruption

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The Journal of Curbing Corruption records  progress made against corruption – practical, reflective, theoretical, even anecdotal. We encourage readers – whether politicians, officials, company executives, activists, researchers, students or citizens – to submit their own contributions to increase global knowledge of tackling corruption. The article can be cited and easily accessed here for download.

Journal of Curbing Corruption 2020

Pyman, M and Heywood, P. Practical strategies for corruption reduction: The Sector Focus and Reformulation Approach (SFRA)

This paper describes a new approach to assist politicians, leaders and managers develop better strategies to reduce corruption. The Sector Focus & Reformulation Approach, or SFRA, is applicable in both developed and developing country environments. The situation that SFRA responds to is this: I am responsible for delivering policies/services/products. My team and I know the issues, the politics and the context, but we know little about reducing the damaging impact of corruption on our operations. Help us to understand how we should analyse the problem, what reform approaches to consider, and how we then formulate a good strategy.

Heywood, P and Pyman, M. Rethinking corruption reform: Strategy, Scale and Substance

In a recent paper on rethinking corruption, Heywood (2017, 47) concluded that, without greater analytic sophistication and depth, ‘it will remain
difficult to develop interventions that have an impact on the lived reality of specific instances of actual corrupt practices, as opposed to generic observations about which places are more corrupt than others.’ In this paper we move from rethinking corruption to ‘rethinking corruption reform’. We start by challenging the current infantilisation of the word ‘strategy’ through an analysis of how good strategy is defined, taught and formulated in the domains of the military, business and politics. This brings us to new conclusions about how those seeking to reduce corruption can conceive and execute better, more effective reform strategies.

Pyman, M. Tackling defence corruption with a ‘whole sector’ approach; a history of TI’s efforts; Working paper

Tackling defence corruption is about much more than stopping dodgy commissions on arms sales. Civilians and soldiers die because of corruption in defence, insecurity rises, peace is compromised, wars extended. This working paper describes the twenty-year effort by Transparency International’s Defence & Security Programme to reduce defence corruption across the whole sector, collaborating with and pressuring defence ministries, military forces, defence companies, NATO, NGOs and others. The progress suggests that a ‘whole sector’ approach – covering companies, governments, regulators and civil society – can be effective, and may hold lessons for how reform approaches in other sectors can be better conceived and implemented.

Heywood P, Chaudhari S, Kartner J, Muniale F, Rodriguez D, Vasconez S and Pyman M. Increasing the impact of an anti-corruption website through social media: a practical experiment

This is the story of an experiment to expand the reach of CurbingCorruption, which ran for six months from 1 February to 31 July 2020.

Journal of Curbing Corruption 2019

Chung, H. Progress in Local Government reform in Myanmar

How Myanmar advanced from second to bottom in the CPI in 2010 to 132nd out of 180 in 2018 through incremental systems change. The paper reviews functional reforms in local administrations like one-stop shops, people-centred reforms like community monitoring by civil society, transparency reforms like citizens budgets, and strengthening media networks.

Pyman, M. New horizons in anti-corruption; sector-specific corrruption prevention

Based on a talk given at the 8th Anti-Money Laundering Conference, London in October 2019.

This literature review, supplemented by interviews with Chinese scholars, follows the evolution of thinking in the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) about corruption, from the toleration of corruption among the outstanding national leaders at the time of the establishment of the People’s Republic of China to understanding corruption as a force de-legitimising the CCP. The main reform measures are described, together with current criticism of them.

Dunne, W. The effectiveness of police ‘internal affairs departments’ in limiting corruption in police services – a literature review

This review presents an analysis of English-language literature on the available knowledge about models of corruption investigation within the policing sector, particularly the role and effectiveness of Internal Affairs Units (IAUs) and Professional Standards Units (PSUs). It examines literature on both the organisation models and the experience from police services in the USA, UK, Australia, Slovenia, Israel and Zimbabwe.

Bennett, H and Pyman, M. Corruption in Iran. Experience, perception, and reform efforts – A literature review

This paper reviews Farsi academic and media sources on corruption and anti-corruption policies in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It identifies several trends in the literature which suggest that corruption is generally seen as an issue of concern for governance in Iran, most notably in the security forces and judiciary. Scholars observe that several Iranian administrations have passed legislation aimed at reducing corruption, but some are critical about its effectiveness. The report concludes that a culture of fear around criticising senior government figures and officials has led to a lack of detailed research into the nature of corruption in Iran.

Pyman, M, Eastwood S, Hungerford J and Elliott J.  Analysing the anti-corruption approaches of the 26 top-ranked countries: an opportunity for a new generation of strategies

In this analysis, we extended our initial work (see Ref below) to cover the anti-corruption approaches of countries ranked at the top of Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2016. The 26 countries we have reviewed, in rank order, are: Denmark, New Zealand, Finland, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Singapore, Netherlands, Canada, Germany, Luxembourg, UK, Australia, Iceland, Belgium, Hong Kong, Austria, USA, Ireland, Japan, Uruguay, Estonia, France, Bahamas, Chile and United Arab Emirates. What we found was, at first sight, unexpected. Only three of the 26 countries have published national anti-corruption strategies; Estonia in 2013, Finland in March 2017 and the UK in December 2017. We found that the more recent Finnish and UK strategies have more of a focus on international anti-corruption efforts, reflecting how much international anti- corruption has advanced in the last five years. The UK strategy was notably comprehensive, being more specific on what the strategy was designed to achieve – namely to reduce corruption risks to national security, to raise trust in UK institutions, and to help economic prosperity. It also highlighted anti-corruption initiatives in high-risk sectors, notably borders, prisons, police and defence. In relation to the other 23 countries, we could find no demonstrable reason for the lack of formal strategies. (Report published by the Institute of Statecraft and Norton Rose Fulbright)

Pyman, M, Eastwood S, Hungerford J, and Elliott J.  Research comparing 41 national anti-corruption strategies. Insights and guidance for leaders

We have analysed the substance of a broad range of national anti-corruption strategies. Our purpose in doing so has been to extract lessons and insights, as best we can, that can guide leaders responsible for developing their own national strategies into making better plans. The report illustrates its findings with multiple examples from the country strategies. A significant number of country strategies were deficient in one or more serious respects: lack of diagnosis and situational analysis; Poorly thought-through strategy and reform measures; Little attention to leading and effecting change; Few strategies are explicit about political leadership; Need to support committed individuals; Unclear coordination and implementation;


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