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University of York contributes to report on anti-corruption

Posted on 14 December 2016

Academics from the University of York’s Management School have contributed to a parliamentary report outlining how UK businesses should deal with the risks of bribery and corruption in high-growth markets.

The report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Anti-Corruption (APPG) reveals that guidance for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) needs to be better tailored to their particular contexts and needs as exporters.

A team from the York Management School analysed case studies from Australia, Indonesia, Kosovo and Nigeria to understand better how corruption operates on a day-to-day level.

The team’s findings contributed to the Reaching Export 2020 with Integrity’ (Report)   which has been sent to departments across government and to UK business groups.

By 2020 the UK government aims to have exported £1 trillion of goods and services overseas – with a large proportion coming from high growth markets in Asia, South America and Africa.

However a Global Fraud survey in 2016 found that 51 per cent of respondents in emerging markets believe that bribery and corruption is widespread in their country.

The survey suggests it is extremely likely that at some point along their supply chain, UK exporters will encounter companies that are not effectively managing the risks of fraud, corruption, or other unethical behaviour.

The Report recommends and highlights that:

  • All UK businesses looking to export to markets where there is a high risk of bribery and corruption would benefit from the improved coordination and publication of existing government guidance. The current guidance could also be better framed specifically to match exporters’ needs.
  • Networks of anti-corruption expertise and formal information sharing should be created through Collective Action between businesses, especially SMEs, NGOs, the UK government and other governments in various export markets.
  • Funding for law enforcement needs to be secured to ensure prosecutions continue to act as a deterrent to corrupt behaviour.
  • A register of companies debarred from public procurement tenders would be an ambitious innovation in the next Anti-Corruption Action Plan.
  • Publishing a timeline for the implementation of public registers of beneficial ownership in the Overseas Territories would secure the government’s commitment to transparency. This would benefit UK businesses in dealings with third parties and due diligence generally.

Dr Lynne Baxter from the York Management School said: “UK companies should not automatically assume that they are ethical and overseas people are corrupt.

“Normal UK business practices might seem corrupt to others. Corporate entertainment, purchase orders for services, management development programmes and legal transactions can all conceal cronyism and conflicts of interest.”

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