9 June 2012, by Andrew McDevitt, Transparency International.
Do you want to know more about the different ways to measure corruption? Are you thinking of doing an assessment and want to find out what others have done? Do you want to learn about some of the challenges you might face in conducting a corruption assessment? Then GATEway, the new corruption assessment toolbox from Transparency International (TI) may be for you.
How can we measure corruption?
In order to fight corruption, we need reliable information on what forms it takes and where it arises. But because it is usually a covert activity, corruption is notoriously hard to measure.
One approach is to measure perceptions of corruption. TI’s Corruption Perceptions Index, for example, ranks countries by the perceived levels of public sector corruption, in order to raise awareness of the issue among policy-makers and the general public.
Another way is to compare the performance of different institutions in preventing corruption. For example, Global Integrity’s Global Integrity Report and TI’s National Integrity System Assessments assess the health of a country’s anti-corruption system. The UNCAC Coalition’s CSO Review Reports, meanwhile, provide an alternative assessment of governments’ implementation of the United Nations Convention Against Corruption.
Recently, a new wave of tools has emerged, designed to provide more precise information on specific corruption hot spots at the local level and in specific sectors. TI’s CRINIS Index, for example, evaluates the transparency of political financing, while the World Health Organization has developed a method for measuring corruption risks in the public pharmaceutical sector.
This rapid expansion has yielded some innovative solutions, but it also has its challenges. In particular, it is becoming increasingly difficult to keep track of what has been done and where, which often leads to a duplication of efforts. This is where GATEway aims to make an important contribution.
GATEway: Finding the right tool for you
GATEway collects and shares the anti-corruption community’s collective knowledge on corruption assessment. It allows civil society actors, researchers and government officials to compare the strengths and weaknesses of the different approaches to measuring corruption, and to select the most appropriate tool for their needs.
GATEway makes this information freely available through an easy-to-use website which includes a searchable database of more than 400 tools (and counting) to measure and analyse corruption, and a set of guides on how best to use them. Our new topic guide on Anti-corruption Monitoring, for example, covers the different approaches to monitoring anti-corruption conventions such as the UNCAC.
In addition, we are developing a set of online videos capturing people’s experiences of conducting corruption assessments in different contexts.
Finally, the website offers an interactive space where you can contribute your own tools, share your experiences in measuring corruption with others, and discuss what works and what doesn’t in different contexts.
Thinking outside the box
And it doesn’t stop there. GATEway is not just about sharing what is out there. It’s also about understanding what is not there. We want to find out what forms of corruption are most difficult to diagnose and what can be done about it. In collaboration with a group of anti-corruption experts, we will be looking at where the major gaps are in terms of assessment tools.
Later in 2012, we will be launching an innovation challenge to source creative ideas on how these gaps can best be addressed. The idea is to showcase some of the most cutting-edge thinking in corruption diagnostics by channelling creativity to hitherto underexplored areas.