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Ministry of Interior of the Slovak republic   Today is 2. March 2024, Saturday

1. Introduction to Public Integrity

Integrity is more than anti-corruption

According to the OECD Recommendation of the Council on Public Integrity (2017), public integrity is the consistent application of shared ethical values, principles and norms to uphold and prioritise the public interest over private interests. Public integrity goes beyond anti-corruption and is a cornerstone of good governance.

Integrity for productivity, efficiency and inclusiveness

Integrity is one of the pillars of political, economic and social structures. It is essential to the economic and social well-being and prosperity of individuals and societies as a whole. Integrity is about making economies more productive, public sectors more efficient, societies and economies more inclusive. It is about restoring trust, not just trust in government, but trust in public institutions, regulators, banks, and corporations.

A lack of public integrity can result in corrupt practices. Corruption is a complex phenomenon and manifests itself in many forms, not just bribery, such as:

  • Undue Influence
  • Abuse of functions
  • Embezzlement
  • Extortion
  • Illicit enrichment
  • Obstruction of justice
  • Laundering proceeds of corruption
  • Nepotism
  • Favouritism
  • Patronage
  • Clientelism

No state is immune from corruption

Violations of integrity standards continue in all countries. The consequences affect everyone.

Impact of corruption on government and society Impact of corruption on businesses Impact of corruption on businesses
  • Undermines democracy and the rule of law
  • Hampers development
  • Distorts markets and drives away investments
  • Leads to loss of confidence in government and institutions and disillusionment
  • Increases costs and lowers the quality of services and products
  • Increases inequality
  • Distorts the market
  • Higher unpredictability and uncertainty Increases the cost of doing business
  • Provides wrong incentives
  • Undermines innovation and diffusion of new technologies
  • Reduces productivity
  • Erodes the quality of life
  • Ruins careers and reputations
  • Denies access to basic services
  • Denies access to justice
  • Denies opportunities for employment

A Comprehensive Strategy for Public Integrity

International instruments, such as the OECD Recommendation on Public Integrity (2017) and the United Nations Convention against Corruption (or UNCAC, 2004), are based on a comprehensive and inclusive approach in dealing with prevention and enforcement.

For example, the OECD Recommendation is built on three pillars which provide a strategy for public officials to prevent corruption by strengthening public integrity. The three pillars are:

  • Building a coherent and comprehensive public integrity system, which consists of a set of policies and tools that are coordinated and avoid overlaps and gaps
  • Cultivating a culture of integrity, which includes recruitment, training and promotion of values in an organisation which appeals to the intrinsic motivation of individuals to act with integrity
  • Enabling effective accountability, which builds on risk based controls and real responsibility for integrity violations.

Creating a culture of integrity takes time and effort, but it represents a crucial step to generate change in all actors of society, including business and civil society. Governments should lead the change by endorsing values of good governance such as openness, inclusiveness, and accountability; at the same time, setting high standards of integrity in public life. Ultimately, however, enhancing public integrity is a shared responsibility and encompasses a whole-of-society approach, with participation of the private sector and civil society.

Key points to remember

  • Integrity goes beyond anti-corruption
  • Integrity is essential to the economic and social well-being and prosperity of individuals and societies
  • Corruption exists in many forms and has devastating consequences for society, the public and private sector and individuals
  • The OECD Recommendation of the Council on Public Integrity promotes a comprehensive, risk-based approach with an emphasis on cultivating a culture of integrity across the whole of society and whole of government
  • Strengthening integrity is a responsibility shared by all stakeholders and sectors of society


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