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EU handbook promotes diverse anti-corruption practices

The European Commission issued a collection of anti-corruption best practices that businesses and compliance professionals may find useful.

The "Handbook of Good Practices in the Fight Against Corruption" consists of 27 ideas, initiatives, or practical recommendations — one from each European Union member state — to avoid bribery and corruption and enhance transparency, accountability, and good corporate governance. It was released on February 15.

Case studies highlighted in the handbook include a new data analysis tool in Finland that helps law enforcement agencies process large amounts of data so that cases requiring more detailed investigation can be more easily identified, and Slovenia's introduction of a "one-stop shop" system to combat economic crime and make public information more accessible to citizens. Meanwhile, Slovakia has made steps to increase companies' beneficial ownership transparency.

The guide is divided into eight areas and contains a combination of well-established methods and innovative solutions to new and old challenges.

1. 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”;

2. Citizen engagement to help shape anti-corruption initiatives and prioritize focus;

3. 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;

4. Promoting integrity through codes of ethics, tone from the top, and corporate culture;

5. Better conflict-of-interest management and detection, particularly around contract bids and staff appointments;

6. Anti-corruption strategy, such as how companies can use intervention-, managerial-, and integrity-led approaches to combat corrupt practices;

7. Work and progress made by anti-corruption agencies; and

8. Better detection and investigation of corruption, such as by encouraging and facilitating whistleblowing.

The European Commission, which intends to introduce a directive on combating corruption through criminal law, anticipates that the handbook will assist government agencies and businesses in overcoming challenges and identifying weak spots in anti-corruption measures and policies, as well as enabling them to observe the progress made by different countries employing the same, similar, or even different approaches.



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