Mapping the UK’s approach to tackling corruption and illicit financial flows

The UK has an important role to play in international efforts to tackle corruption in developing countries – but the government’s domestic approach and the rapidly-changing nature of the threat are among six potential future ‘lines of enquiry’ identified in this information note.

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19 Mar 2020
Lead commissioner
Sir Hugh Bayley
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Relevant Sustainable Development Goals

  • Peace, justice and strong institutions

Corruption and illicit financial flows are major obstacles to tackling national and international development challenges such as the fight against climate change or the pursuit of sustainable peace and security. Corruption inhibits inclusive growth and jobs, and damages the fabric of society by reducing trust and denying citizens’ access to essential services – for example, by inflating the price of pharmaceuticals beyond the reach of new mothers and infants or reducing crop prices for independent farmers.

This information note was commissioned in 2019 by the House of Commons’ International Development Committee (IDC) for its inquiry into Sustainable Development Goal 16.  It describes the UK aid programme’s current approach, and proposes lines of enquiry for potential future investigation by the committee, ICAI or other interested stakeholders.

This note focuses on the government’s work to tackle corruption and illicit financial flows in developing countries since the 2016 Anti-Corruption Summit hosted by then-Prime Minister David Cameron. It maps the UK’s bilateral, international and domestic efforts to tackle corruption and illicit financial flows for the benefit of developing countries. It does not reach evaluative judgments on any specific aid programmes, nor does it seek to conclude if particular interventions are relevant or effective, but instead recommends future areas for possible follow-up.

Proposed lines of enquiry

  • How the UK defines the scope and prioritises its anti-corruption work.
  • How the UK coordinates complex strategies and activities across multiple government departments.
  • How the government influences the wider international community.
  • The level of skills and resources required to successfully tackle corruption and illicit financial flows.
  • How the UK uses evidence to increase its understanding of what works.
  • How the UK can best act as a good global citizen and a global partner of choice.