The Centre for the Study of Corruption: Oct 2020 News

It has been a busy summer for the CSC. In this post CSC Director Liz David-Barrett provides a brief round-up of our key activities over the last few months and a few things to look out for this term.

Research. The CSC faculty have seen a flurry of publications come out in recent months. Sam published articles on the Conservatives in the 2019 election, the transparency paradox in election regulation, and motivations for party membership. Shahrzad published a book chapter on Corruption, regulation and the law: the power not to prosecute under the UK Bribery Act 2010. Liz has a new paper on how efforts to curb corruption in aid spent through procurement might simply displace corruption to other areas, and a book chapter on regulating conflicts of interest. Roxana has a book chapter out on Corruption in the media. She chaired the Section on Corruption and Integrity at the ECPR general conference and also presented work regarding corruption standards in the time of COVID-19.

We have also been busy writing op-eds and blogging. Liljana published one piece on corruption, electoral funding and women’s participation in politics and another on gender quotas in Kosovo. Sam wrote about the need to regulate digital campaigning, foreign interference in elections, and business money in politics. Robert published a piece with Chatham House on the threat of Russia and China to the global anti-corruption framework and also analysed the merger  between the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development for the IDS blog. Liz wrote about conflicts of interest in UK politics and how the ministerial code is flawed.

Dan and Robert submitted an ESRC bid about the impact of Brexit on corruption risks in the UK and should hear the outcome soon. Robert and Liz submitted a proposal for research on corruption risks arising from covid-19 but sadly were not successful…

Policy.  We made CSC submissions to the government’s consultation on Freeports, the Integrated Review and the UN’s consultation over the General Assembly’s Special Session on Corruption which takes place next year. All of these are on the CSC website. Sam submitted evidence to the Committee on Standards in Public Life ‘Review of electoral regulation’ in August and has been invited to participate in the review’s expert roundtable in October. He also published a report on Democracy in the Dark: digital campaigning in the 2019 General Election and Beyond for the Electoral Reform Society, which has already been mentioned in parliament!

We have been engaging a lot with the UK government. Robert gave informal advice to the FCDO on the DFID/FCO merger and to the PM’s Anti-Corruption Champion on the governance of corruption in the UK. He also sits on the UK government’s post-Brexit taskforce for revising the UK’s procurement legislation. Liz gave informal advice to the Joint Anti-Corruption Unit on corruption measurement, which is set to be a priority for Italy’s presidency of the G20 next year.

Looking further afield, Shahrzad is leading a project on Judicial Corruption in Afghanistan. Liljana is reviewing North Macedonia’s Open Government Action Plan 2018-2020 for the Open Government Partnership. Roxana is consulting on an EC funded project regarding corruption across Europe, as country expert for Romania. Liz has been working with the G20’s Anti-Corruption Working Group and UNODC to feed in results from research on law enforcement cooperation and public procurement.

Liz is also part of a team with Mihály Fazekas and other colleagues which is one of the finalists in the IMF Anti-Corruption Challenge. The Final is a virtual pitch event on October 7th at 15.15 (UK time). There will be several judges but viewers are also able to vote for their favourite project, so please do come along and support us!  

New students!

Talking of events, Irasema has kindly volunteered to set up a corruption club this term so that students can organise speakers and social events, and she is hoping to involve many of our fantastic new cohort of MA Corruption and Governance students. They are as usual from all over the world – including Burma, Burundi, Costa Rica, Cote d’Ivoire, Germany, South Africa, Spain, Trinidad and the UK – and seem like a great bunch with all kinds of interesting experience.

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