Corruption hurts all of us. It leads to the wrong policies, wastes public resources and undermines confidence in governments’ ability to serve the public interest. Many trust indicators show the complexity of this problem. For instance, the recent Edelman Trust Barometer reveals that only 30 per cent of respondents agree that government serves the interests of everyone. Such findings speak to the related problems of corruption and highlight a key governance failure that requires proactive and decisive leadership from governments.

Confronted with this reality, OECD member countries are responding with measures and tools to help governments enhance public integrity. Informed by their good practices, the OECD adopted the Recommendation on Public Integrity. This Recommendation sets a new standard to help prevent corruption through a holistic strategy for public integrity with emphasis on implementation. The Recommendation also serves as a roadmap based on thirteen principles to make sustainable change happen.

Real change, however, requires clear indications of what implementation looks like in practice. The OECD Public Integrity Handbook responds to this need by providing guidance to public officials and integrity practitioners, as well as to companies, civil society organisations and individuals. The Handbook explains the Recommendation’s thirteen principles and identifies challenges to implementation.

For example, the Handbook provides guidance on improving co-operation among entities within government, as well as on sharing and learning between national and subnational levels. It explores how to build cultures of integrity across government and society, detailing core elements such as merit-based human resource management. It also explains how ethical, responsive and trustworthy leadership is crucial for open organisational cultures, and clarifies government’s role in providing guidance to companies, civil society and citizens on upholding public integrity values. To improve accountability, the Handbook unveils how to use the risk management process to assess and manage integrity risks, and outlines how to use the enforcement system to ensure real accountability for integrity violations. Moreover, it also discusses measures to strengthen the policy-making process by engaging all stakeholders, managing and preventing conflicts of interest, and ensuring integrity and transparency in lobbying and in the financing of political parties and election campaigns.

Strengthening public integrity is not a goal in itself - it is the road to better policies for better lives. The OECD Public Integrity Handbook will help us get there.


Angel Gurría

OECD Secretary-General

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