Updated: Jul 31, 2020
Is it only our duty to protect the revenues of our organisation from fraud and corruption risk or are we ensuring that all vendors that wish to become a supplier can demonstrate that they mitigate their own risk and that they won't introduce their financial and reputational risk into the procurement lifecycle.
In 2012 and again in 2015, Transparency International UK Defence and Security Programme (TI) led by Mark Pyman assessed the ethics and anti-corruption programmes of 163 Defence companies from 47 countries using publicly available information.
Based on the extent of public evidence on their ethics and anti-corruption programmes, companies were placed in one of six bands A to F from extensive evidence through to almost no evidence.
All companies in the index were sent a draft assessment for comment and review.
TI also reviewed information that is internal or confidential to companies. Sixty-three companies provided detailed internal information in 2015, almost double the number that did so in 2012.
Two-thirds (107 companies) performed in the bottom half of the index (bands D to F), with limited to no evidence of such programmes.
23% (37 companies) provide no evidence at all.
42 companies out of 127 (33%) improved significantly since 2012, by one or more bands. In total, 76 companies (60%) have improved compared with 2012.
The anti-corruption analysis was banded into six areas that included:
Leadership, governance and organisation
Company policies and codes
Personnel and helplines
This significant piece of analysis and subsequent publication on which companies have been proactive in developing and improving their anti-corruption initiatives highlight a major point. A significant number of companies recognise the importance of anti-corruption and that their company is perceived as ethical.
When we appraise this simple method of assessing corruption risk, both public and private sectors need to assess its implementation as part of a supplier on boarding process.
If we are taking steps to check for conflicts of interest, a vendor’s ability to adequately complete the contract including verifying previous performance, that they are a low financial risk, that they are compliant with organisation policies such as health and safety or UN Global Compact requirements why wouldn’t we make the same assessment for their proactive stance on anti-fraud and anti-corruption.
If a vendor can’t adequately evidence that they can protect public or private sector revenues particularly in high value projects, why would we wish to approve them as a contractor.
Supplier registration is the key point that we assess a vendor for risk and yet it is rare that their anti-corruption or anti-fraud stance is assessed. Having a policy isn’t enough, it’s not just about communication by the vendor it’s also about proactive action.
How do companies evidence that they can protect their supply chain from product substitution. Do they understand the key procurement fraud methodologies and how to mitigate the risk particularly within high value projects? The Transparency International report highlights the key areas where a vendor should be assessed.
Where we signpost our stance on anti-fraud and anti-corruption and spend more time and resource at the point of supplier registration, I believe will more effectively reduce incidents and opportunity for corruption and also create a more effective procurement process and reduce the instances of failing projects.