Today I am pleased to be publishing the third annual update to the UK anti-corruption strategy 2017 to 2022 which covers the year 2020. As part of the strategy, the Government are committed to providing an annual written update to parliament on progress.
It is particularly pertinent that we are publishing this update as countries are gathering to assess progress with implementation of the UN convention Against corruption. This serves as a reminder to us all of the need for domestic and international action to address the evolving threat from corruption. This month we also saw the UK join our US partners in their summit for democracy, which similarly focuses on actively tackling the corruption challenges at home and abroad.
This update highlights the progress made against the anti-corruption commitments in 2020 and focuses on a number of key areas:
securing the public commitment with all Crown dependencies and inhabited overseas territories to implement publicly accessible registers of company beneficial ownership information. This will help strengthen the international effort to counter illicit finance;
extending the remit of the national fraud initiative and helping local authorities to undertake bank account and active company checks;
reforming the police complaints and disciplinary systems to make them more transparent, independent and proportionate;
securing endorsement from G20 Ministers of a G20 call to action for countries to combat corruption in the covid-19 response and recovery;
publishing a review of procurement risks in local government that improves understanding and strengthens our response; and
publishing the Green Paper on procurement reform with specific proposals to further strengthen transparency and integrity across Government.
This update covers activity made against the Government’s commitments in the Strategy during 2020. Activity in 2021 will be reported on in the Year 4 Update due to be presented next year.
The year 2020 has been dominated in so many ways by the covid-19 pandemic.
The challenging global environment has required the whole of Government to respond to the pandemic focused on public health. Whilst recognising 2020 was a challenging year, this update provides more details and highlights achievements which have gone beyond the original strategy commitments as well as an explanation for those off-track commitments.
The Government will continue to implement their strategy commitments to combat corruption and to promote integrity and transparency at home and overseas. There is still much work to do and it is important to recognise that a number of broader issues are considered as we look ahead. The Government will update Parliament on progress made in 2021 in the fourth annual update due next year and I am pleased also to announce that Government have started to develop the successor to the strategy which expires at the end of 2022. In addition, a policy statement in response to the “Upholding Standards in Public Life” report from the Committee on Standards in Public Life and the review into the development and use of supply chain finance in Government by Nigel Boardman will be published in due course, in the new year. Alongside this the Government will be providing an update to its work to reform the business appointment rules.
I have written to the devolved Administrations as the update is of direct interest to them.
Finally, I would also like to thank the ongoing work of the Prime Minister’s anti-corruption champion, my hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare (John Penrose), throughout this period.
A copy of the update will be placed in the Libraries of both Houses and also published on gov.uk.