Corruption risk assessment

Using evaluation tools to identify risks and take steps to combat them.

Addressing corruption effectively requires a risk assessment approach. This involves identifying the potential opportunities for corruption within a system, and evaluating how likely it is to occur as well as the impact it would have. The organisation is then able to put preventative measures in place and implement anti-corruption strategies.

A corruption risk assessment should not be a one-off event but a continuing process of re-evaluation. Without ongoing risk assessments, it’s likely valuable resources are being allocated to areas where the risk may have reduced, while new vulnerabilities may have opened up in other areas. The measures used to score risk around corruption can vary due to changes in markets, family structures and undisclosed conflicts of interest. It is critical to ensure you understand where the risk is coming from and the likely impact, in order to take steps to combat it.

Examples and further resources

Transparency International guidance

Transparency International have a topic guide on how to undertake a corruption risk assessment, including various tools and further resources.

Undertaking an assessment

State of Integrity is a guide on conducting public sector risk assessments produced by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). The challenge most organisations face is identifying the points in their operations where corruption is most likely to occur. This guide helps in developing and implementing strategies to prevent this corruption from occurring in the future.

International risk forecasting

The European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building (ERCAS) has created a Corruption Risk Forecast that uses indicators specifically designed to identify where corruption is likely to occur for countries around the world. This helps interventions to be targeted and allows national and international anti-corruption efforts to work together. The forecast looks at how controls are working over periods of time, and conducts trend analysis to enable evaluation and monitoring.

OECD resources

The OECD works with supreme audit institutions, internal audit functions and control bodies to advance their mandates and promote accountability and integrity in government. Their Recommendation on Public Integrity and international standards for auditing and control are the basis for tailored frameworks and methodologies that underpin comparative analyses and technical assistance.

These cover risk-based auditing, applying behavioural insights to auditing, developing sector-specific indicators and auditing of specific sectors. The OECD’s work in this area has focused on a variety of country contexts, including Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, Morocco and Spain, as well as multiple levels of government.

The OECD Auditors Alliance, a network of internal and external auditors in government, offers a platform for accelerated learning and sharing of best practices.

The OECD has also developed integrity indicators to support countries in measuring progress against the OECD’s Recommendation on Public Integrity. The portal includes data collected from many different countries to allow comparisons and benchmarking.