Chapter 2. Encouraging a comprehensive and co-ordinated integrity system in Thailand

This chapter examines the institutional arrangements for public integrity established in Thailand at the central level against the principles of the OECD 2017 Recommendation on Public Integrity. Thailand is advised to strengthen the development, implementation and monitoring of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and integrate the Integrity and Transparency Assessment in the Strategy. Thailand may also improve institutional co-ordination by streamlining the mandates of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) and the Office of the Civil Service Commission (OCSC), and encourage mainstreaming of anti-corruption policies by strengthening the capacity of Anti-Corruption Operation Centres (ACOCs). Thailand is also advised to strengthen stakeholder consultation and knowledge management in the field of public integrity.

  

Introduction: Effective public integrity systems

Corruption and lack of integrity in public decision-making undermine the values of democracy and trust in governments, impede the effective delivery of public services, and are a threat to inclusive growth. While cases of corruption need to be investigated and sanctioned, in-depth preventive actions are necessary to address systemic and institutional weaknesses that facilitate corruption in the first place. Put differently, countries face the challenge of moving from a reactive “culture of cases” to a proactive “culture of integrity”.

A preventive approach to corruption requires a coherent and effective public integrity system, given the complexity and wide variety of integrity breaches and corrupt practices. Managing public integrity is not only the responsibility of specialised anti-corruption bodies, but the responsibility of all organisations within the public sector. The private sector, civil society and citizens also share responsibility for tackling corruption and ensuring integrity.

Country practices show that an effective public integrity system requires demonstrating commitment at the highest political and management levels of the public sector, and clarifying institutional responsibilities at the relevant levels (organisational, subnational or national, and within the different sectors) for designing, leading and implementing the elements of the integrity system. It is also necessary to ensure appropriate mandates and capacities to fulfil these responsibilities. Since the promotion of integrity involves many different actors, mechanisms for co-operation between the actors, sectors and subnational levels have to be in place to avoid fragmentation, overlap and gaps, to support coherence, and to share and build on lessons learned from good practices. Clear, comprehensive, and effective arrangements are of the utmost importance in ensuring the impact of integrity policies. Weaknesses in this co-ordination may considerably diminish the effectiveness of anti-corruption efforts, and even generate loopholes that allow corrupt actors to escape prosecution.

In Thailand, the government has declared anti-corruption efforts an urgent issue and part of the national agenda. Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha has on several occasions emphasised the need to include anti-corruption efforts in the reform process of every sector, whether in politics, the economy, energy, public health and the environment, mass media, social affairs or on other issues (The Nation, 2016[1]).

Thailand’s anti-corruption laws offer an extensive legislative framework for anti-corruption. Offences of this nature are captured primarily in the Organic Act, the Penal Code, the Offences Relating to the Submission of Bids to State Agencies Act and the Organic Act on Counter Corruption, B.E. 2542 (1999). The Organic Act on Counter Corruption criminalises corrupt practices of public officials, except for the acceptance of benefits “on an ethical basis” in accordance with the NACC Supplemental Rules. Moreover, the Organic Act on Counter Corruption, B.E. 2542 (1999), and its amendment (No. 3), B.E. 2558 (2015), Section 123/5, stipulate the liability of legal persons involved in the bribery of public officials, foreign public officials and officials of international organisations. Under Thai law, a person involved in bribery holds “corporate liability”. This stipulation complies with the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC) and the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions. The Thai Penal Code criminalises active and passive bribery of public officials by persons operating in the public or private sector. The Act on Offences Relating to the Submission of Bids to State Agencies defines corrupt practices in relation to public procurement, such as bid collusion. The Anti-Money Laundering Act (AMLA) prohibits money laundering and is implemented by the Anti-Money Laundering Office. Finally, Thailand is a State Party to the United Nations Convention Against Corruption (UNCAC), but not the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention.

As much as anti-corruption efforts are a duty of all government institutions, various government actors play a leading role in preventing, investigating and sanctioning corruption while enhancing integrity. As in most countries, Thailand has various public institutions directly or indirectly involved in either corruption prevention or detection, or both. For corruption prevention in the public sector at the national level, an overview of key actors leading anti-corruption efforts can be found in Table ‎2.1.

Table ‎2.1. Key government actors in the public integrity system in Thailand

National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC)

Constitutionally independent commission

Independent anti-corruption agency with a preventive mandate for all sectors and an investigative mandate for high-ranking officials

Lead agency for the National Anti-Corruption Strategy

Lead agency for the strategic-Integrated budget for anti-corruption

Constitution, B.E. 2560 (2017), of the Thailand Organic Act on Counter Corruption, B.E. 2542 (1999), amended in B.E.2554 (2011), The Act on Offences Relating to the Submission of Bids to Government Agencies, B.E. 2542 (1999) and B.E. 2558 (2015), and the Act on Offences Committed by Officials of State Organisations or Agencies, B.E. 2502 (1959)

Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC)

Government agency part of the executive branch, reporting to the Prime Minister

Promotion of integrity of public officials

Investigation of cases involving low-ranking public servants Implementation of the Integrity and Transparency Assessment (ITA)

Co-ordination of Anti-Corruption Operation Centres

Executive Measures in Anti-Corruption Act, B.E. 2551 (2008), and No. 2, B.E. 2559 (2016), NCPO Order No.69/2557, dated 18 June 18 2014

Office of the Public Sector Development Commission (OPDC)

Government agency reporting to the Prime Minister

Criteria and Procedures for Good Governance, including public participation and transparency

Institutional arrangements within the public administration

Public Administration Act, B.E.2545 (2002), Royal Decree on Criteria and Procedures for Good Governance, B.E. 2546 (2003), Licensing Facilitation Act, B.E. 2558 (2015)

Office of the Civil Service Commission (OCSC)

Government agency reporting to the Prime Minister

Central agency for human resource (HR) standards, including civil service ethics, disciplinary regime, complaint handling, Code of Conduct for civil servants

Civil Service Act, B.E.2551 (2008)

Source: Government of Thailand.

The following interlinked recommendations are proposed, related i) to the development, implementation and monitoring of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, and ii) to institutional co-ordination and stakeholder engagement:

Development, implementation and monitoring of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy

In terms of policy instruments, the National Anti-Corruption Strategy is the main government guiding document in the area of anti-corruption and integrity. The Government Cabinet, in a meeting on 11 October 2016, approved the draft National Anti-Corruption Strategy, Phase 3, proposed by the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission. The vision of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy is “Zero Tolerance and Clean Thailand”, which aims to achieve “a society founded on discipline, integrity and ethics, with all sectors participating in the prevention and suppression of corruption.”

The Third Phase of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy will be implemented from 2017 to 2021 and comprises both corruption prevention and law enforcement. The six aims of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, Phase 3, are the following:

  1. To create a society that does not tolerate corruption;

  2. To promote political will to fight corruption;

  3. To deter corruption in public policy;

  4. To develop a proactive anti-corruption system;

  5. To reform corruption suppression mechanisms and processes;

  6. To improve Thailand’s Corruption Perception Index score.

In promoting the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, the Thai government also urges all agencies and institutions to undertake action against corruption, underscoring the whole-of-government approach to promote integrity and fight corruption. All government agencies and institutions are expected to adopt guidelines and measures in accordance with this strategy and to translate them into practice. Moreover, government bodies are instructed to include these actions and measures in their four-year State Administration Plans and their annual action plans. They are also instructed to start the implementation of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, Phase 3, in the 2017 fiscal year onwards.

Moreover, in addition to the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, good governance and anti-corruption feature high on the political agenda in Thailand and are widely recognised as priorities. Good governance and anti-corruption feature in a large number of plans and strategies developed and/or supported by the Thai government, such as the 20 Years Country Strategy 2017-2036, the 12th National Economic and Social Development Plan 2017-2020, budget plans, and the 2030 Sustainable Development agenda (Figure ‎2.1).

Figure ‎2.1. Anti-corruption and good governance in national strategies and plans in Thailand
picture

Thailand could reinforce the National Anti-Corruption Strategy by expanding the secretariat function of the NACC Sub-Commission for Strategy Implementation

In developing the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, Phase 3, the designated NACC Working Group employed a consultative approach and collected the views and suggestions of experts, academics and representatives of government agencies, state enterprises, the private sector, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and independent organisations, to obtain the widest possible coverage. Additionally, the working group invited the general public to submit their views at organised forums. The results of these forums were submitted to the working group and used as data for drafting the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

In implementing the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, the NACC Sub-Commission for Strategy Implementation plays a pivotal role in co-ordinating with the various partners inside and outside the government. The sub-commission has developed a manual to provide guidance on implementation of the Strategy. However, the multi-stakeholder approach is not as well defined, and various institutional partners reported that their roles and expected contributions are not sufficiently spelled out. Moreover, although the objectives of the manual are meaningful, the current draft of the manual has some flaws and inconsistencies, particularly relating to the institutional framework, and could be revised to clarify the roles and expectations for implementation partners. It may also aim to provide guidance on the reporting cycle and format.

The sub-commission could also increase its role in knowledge management by providing a platform for sharing information between stakeholders involved in rolling out the plan. In addition, formalised partnerships with selected civil society organisations and business representatives may improve oversight of how the Strategy is being carried out.

One way to guide stakeholders and partners is to develop an implementation roadmap, with specific indicators and objectives. Ideally, these indicators and objectives are formulated for each component of the strategy, so the implementation of the strategy can be monitored and evaluated by component. This will help to identify the areas where implementation is on track and the areas that need improvement.

To counter the public perception of corruption, Thailand could strengthen the measurement framework for anti-corruption policies by using policy indicators

At present, the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) is used as a single target indicator in the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, despite its limitations in terms of methodology and usefulness. The CPI score is a composite index combining at least three data sources per country. The confidence intervals are relatively large, and as a result, it is not possible to make scientifically reliable comparisons between countries with similar scores. Such large confidence intervals and the variability of measurements in other countries cast doubt on the reliability of the rankings: if a country falls a few places in the ranking, it may not in fact reflect a real deterioration in the conditions on the ground. Moreover, the CPI score is a national score, and does not reflect regional or sectoral trends and developments. The CPI is thus not suitable as a diagnostic tool. It is a perception index, and it is unclear whether fluctuating perception scores reflect real changes in levels of corruption, or simply general discontent or a response to media exposure of scandals. The CPI is not an appropriate tool for evaluating anti-corruption and integrity policies.

A balanced set of policy indicators could instead be considered, as a framework to replace the CPI as a policy target and as a measure of the progress of the anti-corruption policy. This new set of measurements could assess policy effectiveness, identify areas or institutions at risk, and inform policy planning. Specific indicators can be used to measure budget transparency, integrity in public procurement, efficiency of administrative processes, open government, as well as benchmarks related to organisational integrity, asset declaration systems and whistleblower protection. Moreover, sector-specific indicators can be used to measure integrity in service delivery in health, education or in areas such as licencing or business creation. It may be assumed that these indicators will help improve the CPI score in the long run.

To develop these indicators, Thailand could build on the Integrity and Transparency Assessment (ITA), which can serve as a monitoring and evaluation framework for Thailand’s public integrity policies. A monitoring and evaluation system can act as an assurance that integrity policies follow an evidence-based strategic approach, enabling continuous learning (Box ‎2.1). Evidence from monitoring or evaluation can enhance targeting and steering of current and future policies. This would allow for the detection of challenges and problems in a policy’s implementation process (OECD, 2017[2]). Effective monitoring and evaluation create a feedback mechanism between policy design and implementation. On the one hand, they help focus on mainstreaming the public integrity system’s strategic goals as the strategy is put in place; on the other hand, this feeds back information from the implementation level to the policy-design stage and enables effective steering, informed decision-making and improved policy design (OECD, 2017[2]).

Box ‎2.1. Differences in monitoring and evaluation
  • Monitoring refers to the process of collecting and analysing information on a policy’s direct and intermediary outputs. Outputs are the direct results in the sphere immediately affected by the policy. What functions is the policy expected to implement? This question is typically answered on the output level. In some cases, outputs of a policy are self-evident, to the degree that monitoring them becomes redundant. More information might then be obtained by monitoring the intermediate output. Intermediate outputs result from the policy at the first step of corollary influence. This means that they do not automatically result from the policy, but are likely to occur if the policy is implemented as intended. Often, the usage or uptake of an output is a valuable intermediate output to observe.

  • Evaluation, in turn, explores a policy’s mid- and longer-term outcomes. Outcomes are the indirect results of a policy in the final sphere of desired impact. They are indirect, since these outcomes are affected not only by the policy, but also by a range of other variables beyond the control of the implementation process. They tend to capture the effect of a policy on social, economic or organisational variables. Thanks to the multiple factors influencing the desired outcome variable, the causal link between the specific policy and the observed outcome is usually not straightforward (and is referred to as the “attribution gap”). While monitoring is often a continuous function, evaluation involves an effort at measurement specifically set up to investigate a given policy’s effect, with a causal attribution.

Source: (OECD, 2017[3]); (Mathisen et al., 2011[4]).

Monitoring and evaluation strengthen accountability of the public integrity system by making efforts and results measureable. The efforts can be determined as successful or otherwise and can create pressure for change, in benchmarking the different public entities. Making the results available to the public would create additional leverage to promote integrity policies (OECD, 2017[2]).

Each integrity policy typically has one or several goals. A goal reflects the change that the policy is intended to bring about. A policy might, for example, have the goal of promoting merit-based recruitment in a public administration unit. The first step of any measurement process is to identify the goals and translate them into objectives. Objectives define the implications of a goal in a specific context. Each objective phrases one aspect of a goal positively and unambiguously in one sentence. Ideally, they provide the who, where, what and when of a goal.

Goals, objectives and indicators can be defined at the level of output as well as outcome. They can also be designed to assess certain qualities of an output or outcome, e.g. the value in relation to an input (Box ‎2.2) (OECD, 2017[2]).

Box ‎2.2. Examples of outputs, intermediate outputs and outcome for an Integrity Code policy

Principle 4 of the 2017 OECD Recommendation of Public Integrity calls for “high standards of conduct for public officials” to be set, i.e. through “including integrity standards in the legal system and organisational policies (such as codes of conduct or codes of ethics) to clarify expectations and serve as a basis for disciplinary, administrative, civil and/or criminal investigation and sanctions, as appropriate”. One possible measure for achieving this principle is the introduction of an Integrity Code for public officials. This table presents some potential goals, objectives and indicators that an Integrity Code might have on output and outcome level:

Output

Intermediate Output

Outcome

Goals

Existence of useful Integrity Code

Establish Integrity Code

Establish integrity as an organisational value

Objectives

Integrity Code:

• exists

• covers all relevant topics

• is feasible.

Public officials:

• know the Integrity Code and have been trained in using it

• initiate discussions on grey areas and ethical dilemmas

• suggest solutions.

• Managers use the Code as a management tool, e.g. in interviews of candidates for positions in their team, or performance evaluation interviews

Public administration staff model their behaviour and make decisions based on the rules and principles of the Integrity Code.

Example indicator

• Identified risk areas are covered by the code

• Staff of all managerial levels have participated in focus groups for development of Integrity Code

• …

• Number of integrity-related suggested improvements

• Share of staff working in risk areas who have received risk-specific integrity training

• All applicants to a vacant position are provided the Integrity Code, so that they can reflect on it before proceeding in the selection process.

• …

• Integrity measured in staff survey

• …

Source: (OECD, 2017[3])

It is encouraging that NACC has recently conducted research and analysis on the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) and has provided recommendations on improving the measurement system to the Cabinet. Moreover, PACC is assigned to be the Secretariat of the CPI Improving Committee led by the Deputy Prime Minister, in line with the Office of the Prime Minister Order 112/2559 dated 26 May 2016; PACC reports to the National Anti-Corruption Committee Meeting headed by the Prime Minister.

Thailand may raise the strategic impact of the Integrity and Transparency Assessment (ITA) by fine-tuning its methodology and by linking it with the indicators and objectives of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy

The Integrity and Transparency Assessment is an annual assessment of integrity and transparency at the organisational level across government institutions at the national and provincial levels in Thailand. The assessment methodology has been adapted from the Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission of South Korea, and was then developed and integrated to match with the transparency indicator of NACC. Its implementation in each government department, at the provincial level and in public organisations is led by PACC, partly in partnership with researchers from the Police Academy. Moreover, the implementation in a number of organisations is led by NACC. The ITA is a key element of component Strategy 4, “Development of proactive corruption prevention systems system to counter corruption” of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, Phase 3 (2017-2021). The third assessment cycle was completed in September 2017.

The methodology consists of three components, combining an internal survey, an external survey for customers/stakeholders, and an evidence-based self-assessment survey, which covers five topics: transparency, accountability, anti-corruption, integrity culture and work integrity. The scores of the ITA surveys are combined in an index, which is published online (Figure ‎2.2).

Figure ‎2.2. Integrity and Transparency Assessment – 2015 and 2016 scores from assessment tools
picture

Source: Thailand Today, www.thailandtoday.in.th/node/1084; www.pacc.go.th.

NACC and PACC may need to improve co-ordination on the ITA methodology and implementation. NACC is developing more effective ITA questionnaires and surveys, which follow the government Anti-Corruption policies. In addition, PACC is establishing an action plan for government agencies at the national level, which does not yet cover the provincial level and public organisations; the government plan is to reach a score of 80 for all government agencies by the year 2021. PACC is conducting the assessment training delivery within its own budget. Two working groups have been set up to ensure a more effective implementation and evaluation on the ITA: the Integrity and Transparency Assessment Control and Evaluation Committee and the Integrity and Transparency Assessment Technical and Development Committee. These two working groups may serve as technical exchanges to streamline the efforts of NACC and PACC on the ITA.

The methodology allows for ranking government institutions and comparing scores over time, which makes it an important tool for analysing and comparing the integrity and transparency levels of public entities across the government (Figure ‎2.3). The ITA also helps identify and support entities and institutions that underperform. For institutions that receive low scores, specific training is offered to their staff. In addition, ITA encourages competitive dynamics among government agencies to promote high integrity standards, and identifies “champions of integrity” in the public sector. These measures are intended to encourage higher standards of integrity throughout government.

Figure ‎2.3. Integrity and Transparency Assessment – Ranking 2015, 2016
picture

Source: Thailand Today, http://www.thailandtoday.in.th/node/1084; www.pacc.go.th

To further increase its impact, the ITA may fine-tune its methodology and link up with the indicators and objectives of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. Although the ITA relies on three different sources, the measurement remains largely compliance-oriented, and reportedly, low ITA scores often reflect low motivation or a lack of interest among the staff to complete the self-assessment of the survey, rather than weak integrity systems. It is thus recommended that qualitative integrity elements be integrated into the methodology, such as organisational values, ethical leadership and staff competencies to deal with ethical dilemmas. As in Korea, cases of corruption could also be integrated into the measurement methodology (Box ‎2.3).

Box ‎2.3. Annual Integrity Assessment in South Korea

The Korean Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission has successfully employed an innovative initiative for public institutions to assess and disclose their integrity levels on a recurring basis. These periodic assessments aim primarily to:

  • recognise corruption-related trends within public organisations;

  • identify causes of corruption and corruption-prone areas in public institutions;

  • mobilise public organisations to engage in voluntary efforts against corruption;

  • provide quantitative data for shaping government-wide anti-corruption strategies.

Assessed areas include individual public organisations and the specific tasks within their scope of activities. The staff of the public organisations and the service users are surveyed on their personal perception of corruption, as well as on their first-hand experience with corrupt practices (e.g. offering money, gifts or favours). The main sources for data collection include telephone or online surveys and statistics on the public servants penalised for corrupt practices. The results obtained from the assessment are presented to relevant public organisations and media.

The 2015 Integrity Assessment included 617 public organisations covering 2 514 lines of work and surveying 245 098 individuals (the majority being public service users). The 2015 Assessment Model was based on the following pillars:

  • external integrity: aimed at public service users, it evaluated the degree of transparency and accountability with which their duties were performed;

  • internal integrity: aimed at the staff of an organisation, it assessed the level of corruption in institutional practices, managerial activities and organisational culture;

  • policy customer evaluation: aimed at policy experts and stakeholders, it evaluated the level of corruption in the processes of establishing and executing policies;

  • cases of corruption: calculations of the number of public officials punished or reported in the media for their corrupt acts.

The commission has reported that the scale of the Integrity Assessment activities encourages their impact on the public sector, and that integrity levels in public organisations have continued to improve in the last years.

Source: Presentation by Ms. Sung-sim Min at the meeting of the OECD Working Party of Senior Public Integrity Officials (4 November 2016, Paris).

Interviews with ITA experts show that the ITA information-collectors and report-writers do not always fully understand the objectives and methodology of the ITA. It thus seems necessary to provide guidance and training to those involved in the ITA process, as well as to standardise parts of the data collection process with digital tools, which also helps reduce human errors in data processing.

Thailand could strengthen the impact of the Integrity and Transparency Assessment by providing opportunities for institutional learning and knowledge sharing

Currently, agencies with a low ITA score receive training on integrity policies and the ITA. Support for underperforming entities may include specialised training, and assistance in strengthening internal control units and processes, improving risk management, or setting ethical leadership standards. Although this is encouraging, the impact of the ITA could also be reinforced by creating opportunities for institutional learning based on the ITA. For example, case studies and comparative analysis of entities that perform well could identify good practices, which can be discussed and distributed through the network of Anti-Corruption Operation Centres, publications, online exchange, seminars and training activities. Within the ministries and government agencies, the Anti-Corruption Operation Centres serve as a focal point for the ITA; these are well placed to advise on the specific organisational needs that can strengthen the integrity system.

Furthermore, the ITA has the potential to serve as a monitoring instrument for anti-corruption and integrity policy as a whole. To achieve this aim, it needs to be integrated formally as a policy objective of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. In the Netherlands, for example, a flexible system of integrity assessments, called the Integrity Monitor, is used to inform and set priorities for the national anti-corruption agenda (Box ‎2.4).

Box ‎2.4. Integrity Monitor in the Netherlands’ public administration

The Integrity Monitor is an initiative of the Dutch Ministry of the Interior, conducted in close collaboration with the Dutch National Integrity Office and several organisations in the public administration sector (the Local Government Association, the Union of Water Authorities and the Association of Provinces). Since 2004, the Dutch Ministry of the Interior has been regularly monitoring the formal implementation of integrity policies within the public administration. The chief objectives of the Integrity Monitor are:

  • to inform Parliament of the status of integrity policies of the Dutch administration and about the actions taken by the Minister of the Interior on the results it reports;

  • to engage the decentralised public administrations in taking responsibility for compliance with regulations for integrity policies and for raising ethical awareness;

  • to expand the use of the monitoring results to secondary analyses.

Over the years, the Integrity Monitor has evolved substantially. The first Monitor, from 2004, evaluated the implementation of integrity policies among the four levels of public administration. The Ministry’s first Monitor took the form of a check-box inventory, and led to the conclusion that public administration entities were not sufficiently implementing the stipulated policies. Clear progress on this front was identified in the 2008 edition of the Integrity Monitor, whose goal was to focus on implementing integrity policies as required by law and related regulations.

As of 2006, perception surveys on integrity policies have been introduced to the Monitor, which laid the foundations for integrative monitoring. An integral approach was introduced in the Integrity Monitor 2012, which consisted of:

  • a checklist of integrity policies;

  • an inventory of the number of disciplinary cases;

  • a perception survey of integrity policies and the integrity culture.

For the first time, the 2012 Monitor also included a perception survey of political office holders.

To reinforce the policies’ effectiveness, the 2016 Monitor devoted special attention to integrity, aggression and violence. It targeted groups such as political office holders, secretaries-general, directors and civil servants in central government, the provinces, municipalities and water authorities. Various methods were employed, including flitspanel (online panels for government employees), personal e-mails and in-depth research through interviews. The results obtained from the Monitor helped identify priorities for anti-corruption efforts, as well as successful elements of integrity policies, such as commitment at the highest levels of the organisation, leading by example, and shifting from prohibition to awareness within the organisational culture. Enhanced awareness, physical measures (e.g. gates, counters) and the ease of reporting breaches were among the success factors helping to reduce aggression and violence.

Sources: Presentation by Ms. Marja van der Werf at the meeting of the OECD Working Party of Senior Public Integrity Officials (4 November 2016, Paris).

(Lamboo and de Jong, 2016[5]).

Finally, as with the Observatory of Transparency and Anti-Corruption in Colombia (Box ‎2.5), NACC and PACC may opt to make the ITA data available in Excel format, which makes the information more readily usable for research, comparisons and media reports. Details on the methodology for elaborating the indicators could also be provided.

Box ‎2.5. The Colombian Observatory of Transparency and Anti-Corruption

The Transparency Secretariat of Colombia has implemented a web portal (the Observatory of Transparency and Anti-Corruption, or Observatorio de Transparencia y Anticorrupción) which, among other information management and communication tasks, provides important indicators related to integrity and anti-corruption. The website bundles available information on: i) disciplinary, penal and fiscal sanctions; ii) the Open Government Index (Índice de Gobierno Abierto); and iii) the Fiscal Performance Index (Índice de Desempeño Fiscal). The data on the penal sanctions comes from the Prosecutor General’s Office (Fiscalía General de la Nación), the data on disciplinary sanctions from the Attorney General’s Office (Procuradoría General de la Nación), and the data on fiscal sanctions from the Supreme Audit Institution (Auditoría General de la República). The Fiscal Performance Index is elaborated by the National Planning Department (Departamento Nacional de Planeación), while the Open Government Index is calculated by the Attorney General’s Office.

Additionally, the Observatory’s website provides indicators related to Transparency and the implementation status of the Public Anti-Corruption Policy elaborated by the Transparency Secretariat. The indicators related to Transparency include: i) a composite index of accountability; ii) a composite index of the quality of the Corruption Risk Maps; iii) an indicator related to the demand and supply of public information; and iv) a composite index on the Regional Anti-Corruption Commissions (Comisiones Regionales de Moralización). The indicators of the Public Anti-Corruption Policy measure are composite indexes showing the progress made on the policies: i) improving the access to and the quality of public information; ii) increasing the efficiency of the public management tools for preventing corruption; iii) enhancing social control to prevent corruption; iv) promoting a culture of legality in the state and society; and v) reducing impunity in the commission of corrupt practices.

All indicators are also available in Excel format (Open data), which makes the data readily usable for research, comparisons and media reports. Details on the methodology for elaborating the indicators are also provided.

Source: (Colombian Transparency Secretariat,(n.d.)[6]).

To increase the efficiency, coherence and sustainability of anti-corruption initiatives, Thailand could establish a programmatic, multi-year approach to the budget allocation process, for measures and activities underpinning the National Anti-Corruption Strategy

Thailand has a dedicated annual budget to implement the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, which is referred to as the Strategic-Integrated Budget Plan for “Corruption and misconduct prevention and suppression”, as one of the 27 strategic-integrated budget plans covering all sectors of society. The budget cycle is based on the fiscal year, and NACC is appointed as main Secretariat host, together with the Bureau of the Budget (BoB), the Office of the National Economic and Social Development Board (NESDB), the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission (OPDC) and the Office of the National Security Council (ONSC), responsible for developing the budget plans as well as for reporting on the expenditures. The approval process runs from October to October in the next year and involves various steps, which are summarised in Table ‎2.2.

Table ‎2.2. Cycle of the strategic-integrated budget plan for fiscal year 2018

 

Time frame

Procedures and activities

1

11 October 2016

Cabinet:

1) Approves guideline for budget preparation and timeline for fiscal year 2018 with prioritised strategic-integrated budget plan. 2) Approves report on reviewing linkage within the integrated plan and assign Deputy Prime Minister to chair the Strategic-integrated Budget Preparation Committee, to adopt the review result to be used in budget preparation and to compile targets and indicators from the strategic-integrated plan to report to BoB.

2

21-22 October 2016

BoB, NESDB and OPDC, with the core responsible agency for each strategic-integrated budget plan and relevant agencies, including government agencies and state enterprises, review targets, guidelines and key indicators for fiscal year 2018.

3

21 October 2016

Prime Minister delivers policy in strategic-integrated budget preparation, as well as developing targets, guidelines, and key indicators for fiscal year 2018

4

22 October 2016

Core responsible agency for each strategic-integrated budget plan determines the results from targets, guidelines and key indicators, and reviews and submits them to BoB.

5

25 October 2016

Cabinet: 1) Approves guidelines for strategic-integrated budget preparation, fiscal year 2018; 2) Assesses/appoints the Deputy Prime Minister or the Minister responsible for governing and supervising strategic-integrated budget preparation, fiscal year 2018.

6

27 October-6 December 2016

Strategic-integrated Budget Preparation Committee meets, fiscal year 2018.

 

27-28 October 2016

1) Chairman delivers policy on strategic-integrated budget preparation, assigns responsible agencies, NESDB, OPDC, ONSC, and BoB to set objectives, scope, target, key indicator, guidelines and the relevant agencies.

27 October-1 November 2016

2) The Committee determines objectives, scope, targets, key indicators, guidelines and relevant agencies.

3) Government agencies, state enterprises and other agencies prepare strategic-integrated budget proposals and submit them to the Committee.

14-25 November 2016

4) The Committee determines the strategic-integrated budget proposals, fiscal year 2018, of those agencies.

28 November-6 December 2016

5) The Chairman determines and approves the strategic-integrated budget proposals, fiscal year 2018, and submits them to BoB.

7

7 December 2016 – 11 January 2017

BoB determines strategic-integrated budget proposals, fiscal year 2018.

7-16 December 2016

1) Budgeting Division, BoB, determines strategic-integrated budget proposals, fiscal year 2018, and submits them to the working group.

19-30 December 2016

2) Working group determines strategic-integrated budget proposals, fiscal year 2018, and submits them to Budget Policy Division, BoB

4-10 January 2017

3) Budget Policy Division, BoB, conclude and prepare memo on preliminary proposal in Strategic-integrated budget preparation, fiscal year 2018, to report to the Prime Minister.

11 January 2017

4) BoB reports to the Prime Minister on the overall proposal in Strategic-integrated budget preparation, fiscal year 2018.

8

12 January 2017

BoB informs ministries, government agencies, state enterprises and other agencies to consider this information further for detailed budget preparation, fiscal year 2018.

9

October 2016 – October 2017

Strategic-integrated Budget Preparation Committee, core responsible agency and relevant agencies monitor and evaluate results and inspect budget expenditure.

Note: BoB (Bureau of the Budget); OPDC (Office of the Public Sector Development Commission); NESDB (National Economic and Social Development Board); ONSC (Office of the National Security Council)

Source: Bureau of Budget (October 2016) “Manual for Strategic-Integrated Budget Plan Preparation, Fiscal Year 2018”.

To help NACC comply with this process, government institutions involved in anti-corruption and integrity policy are expected to submit their proposals to NACC by August each year. NACC then scrutinises the proposals and prepares a consolidated budget proposal for submission to the Bureau of Budget, the Office of the Public Sector Development Commission and the National Economic and Social Development Board, for further processing and approval.

Although this process sets out a structured framework for budget allocation, it faces a number of challenges:

  • The annual approval process is not synchronised with the four-year cycle of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, Phase 3, 2017-2021. This leaves open the possibility that funded activities may diverge from the activities underwritten by the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, and that some elements of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy receive insufficient funding;

  • The annual budget approval makes it difficult for institutional partners to plan multi-year activities, and favours one-off proposals for activities, leaving limited room for sustainability;

  • The annual submission of project proposals by various institutional partners results in some incoherence and overlap among the approved activities. It also encourages a degree of competition among partners expected to work together towards the same policy objectives;

  • The process requires significant recurrent resources from all institutional partners involved.

To mitigate these problems, Thailand may replace the annual selection and budget allocation process for anti-corruption initiatives with a budget allocated on the basis of the four-year operational work plans that underpin the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. This may increase the coherence of the anti-corruption efforts and further the success of the Strategy, increasing the predictability of the funding, and improving administrative efficiency. An annual review mechanism at the technical level may ensure alignment with the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

Institutional co-ordination and stakeholder engagement

Thailand may streamline the mandates of NACC, PACC and OCSC and consolidate the mandate for public sector integrity for the executive branch within PACC

In the current Thai institutional context, the mandate and institutional responsibility for corruption prevention in the public sector is spread over several institutions, including NACC, PACC and OCSC. For example, under the Organic Act on Counter Corruption, B.E. 2542, NACC is responsible in areas of corruption prevention for public officials, including values and beliefs for anti-corruption systems and handling conflicts of interest.

Complex co-ordination mechanisms have been established, including technical sub-commissions, but overlap policies and activities remains. There is room for improved efficiency and impact in public ethics, knowledge management, standard setting, awareness raising, capacity building, monitoring and evaluation, asset declarations and corruption reporting.

For example, NACC, PACC, and OCSC undertake integrity-related training activities for civil servants and conduct awareness-raising activities for public officials in a more cost-effective, efficient and coherent manner. These initiatives are parallel to similar activities run by other institutions or have a stand-alone or one-off character, without durable results or impact. Information and good practices are not sufficiently shared, resulting in inconsistent approaches in methods and content. Moreover, no institution is responsible for oversight of all policy measures and activities in corruption prevention in the public sector.

Although NACC is responsible for co-ordinating anti-corruption efforts across all sectors, including the public sector, private sector and civil society, in practice, it is restricted by virtue of its status as an independent quasi-judicial agency. It has only limited leverage in the executive branch to make corruption prevention mainstream and to implement policy measures. Indeed, because institutional partners, and especially high-ranked officials, may be wary of the NACC’s investigative mandate, some government institutions are reportedly reluctant to engage with NACC on preventive measures. On the contrary, as part of the executive branch, PACC has a comparative advantage in mobilising public sector actors, and makes a suitable candidate for leading, co-ordinating and mainstreaming the corruption prevention agenda in the executive branch of the public sector. This may yield additional benefits in driving PACC’s network of Anti-Corruption Operation Centres, whose main role is to mainstream the question of integrity in line ministries and government institutions. For the judiciary and the legislative branch, NACC may remain the lead agency and co-ordinate its efforts with PACC to ensure policy coherence in the public sector.

Similarly, OCSC conducts activities in corruption prevention, including ethical standard setting in line with the Constitution of Thailand, B.E. 2560, via the Code of Conduct and developing related training materials. OCSC is also responsible for the general training for newly appointed civil servants. As PACC is responsible for educating civil servants on integrity, it would be more efficient to mandate that PACC take on the full package of ethical standard setting and implementation in the executive branch, including via the Code of Conduct, development of related training materials and conducting the training. This transfer may also yield additional benefits in driving PACC’s network of Anti-Corruption Operation Centres.

As lead agency for human resources in the public sector, OCSC could focus on integrity in recruitment processes, performance appraisals and career enhancement mechanisms. OCSC, leading the introduction training for new civil servants, may rely on PACC to conduct the ethics module training and provide the training materials.

Thailand may centralise and consolidate the mandate for criminal investigations of corruption cases in the public sector within NACC, to encourage efficiency

As with the corruption prevention mandate, multiple institutions and bodies have a mandate to investigate cases of corruption in the public sector, including NACC, PACC, and the National Administration Centre for Anti-Corruption. NACC is responsible for high-ranking officials, whereas PACC is charged with investigating low-ranked officials (Figure ‎2.4).

Figure ‎2.4. Investigative mandates of NACC and PACC
picture

Source: Figure developed from NACC and PACC documentation.

In addition, the National Administration Centre for Anti-Corruption holds certain investigative powers for special cases. Cases are treated by different institutions, depending on the rank or status of the civil servant or public official involved. These agencies have set up similar structures and capacities to conduct investigations, with some duplication of structures and resources. The current institutional setup also results in significant transaction costs in co-ordinating and transferring cases between actors.

Running investigations by one institution may increase efficiency, investigation expertise, management and data security. The investigative mandate is best suited to an institution with a high level of institutional independence, whereas, as explained above, the preventive mandate requires an institution with strong leverage within the executive branch of government. This would make NACC suitable, as the only candidate to hold the investigative mandate for all corruption cases involving public officials. It should be noted that, further down the criminal justice chain, Thailand has several specialised prosecution bodies, including the Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases and the Criminal Division for Holders of Political Offices at the Supreme Court of Justice.

Thailand may phase out temporary anti-corruption bodies, such as the National Administration Centre for Anti-Corruption, integrating them into existing structures and mandates

The National Administration Centre for Anti-Corruption was created by Prime Minister Order No. 226/2557 on 24 November 2014 as a temporary anti-corruption body, with PACC as a Secretariat function, reporting to the National Anti-Corruption Committee. The purpose of the Centre is to provide solutions for pressing corruption issues and to deal with corrupt officials in a timely manner. To fulfil these objectives, the Centre has responsibility for corruption prevention and suppression, special investigations, standard setting for anti-corruption prevention and suppression, and developing policy recommendations.

Whereas responsiveness of government structures can be welcomed in general, the creation of the National Administration Centre for Anti-Corruption has added complexity to the already crowded institutional framework and led to duplication of existing institutional roles, both related to corruption prevention and enforcement. This may hamper the operation of existing permanent anti-corruption bodies. Temporary anti-corruption bodies with strong political support carry the risk of political interference, which may jeopardise the objectivity of their operations.

Phasing out the National Administration Centre for Anti-Corruption and integrating its mandate into PACC for the prevention role and into NACC for the investigation and enforcement elements would increase coherence.

To mainstream anti-corruption policies in government institutions, Thailand could increase the capacity of the Anti-Corruption Operation Centres (ACOCs) and co-ordination by PACC

Addressing corruption and promoting public integrity is a responsibility for all government and non-government actors alike. This is articulated in the 2017 OECD Recommendation of the Council on Public Integrity, which calls for a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to public integrity. In practice, however, mainstreaming of an anti-corruption agenda across government institutions remains a challenge for many countries across the globe.

In Thailand, ACOCs have been established in line ministries and government institutions. Since their inception in 2012, 35 ACOCs have been installed and are currently operational. ACOCs are to be rolled out across all public institutions and state enterprises at national and provincial levels. Typically, the ACOCs are staffed with two to three employees of the host organisation. A multi-stakeholder committee (led by the Secretary General of PACC) is made up of members from OCSC, NACC, PACC and ACOCs, and serves as co-ordinating body for the ACOCs. The use of ACOCs is a relatively young initiative and their role is still emerging.

The ACOCs provide a good platform for introducing the anti-corruption prevention and ethics policy throughout government institutions. More specifically, they have the potential to provide ethical guidance, awareness-raising, capacity development, monitoring and evaluation, and risk mapping in the public sector. To maximise their impact, the ACOCs may be reinforced in two respects: i) their operational capacity and ii) their strategic role.

As for operational capacity, the ACOC network can be developed as a learning community of public sector integrity advocates. To this end, ACOCs would benefit from support from PACC, in co-operation with OPDC and OCSC, in terms of community building activities, development of technical instruments (such as manuals and training materials) and capacity building (including training the trainers), and exchange of data, knowledge and expertise. PACC is currently in the process of developing a manual with guidelines and procedures for ACOC staff, as well as specific training modules for staff of the respective ACOCs. These efforts could be intensified and supported by an online platform for knowledge management. The example of Austria shows how a network of integrity officials across government institutions can be strengthened through exchange and training in various technical areas (Box ‎2.6).

Box ‎2.6. Austrian approach to promoting integrity in the public sector

To mainstream integrity in the public sector, Austria has established the Network of Integrity Officers, which aims to place integrity officers in various federal institutions (e.g. ministries). Tasks performed by the officers include:

  • performing advisory services for employees and senior officials;

  • circulating information on integrity and awareness raising;

  • providing training;

  • analysing the risk of corruption;

  • collaboration and experience sharing;

  • serving as the focal point for compliance-related issues.

The Federal Bureau of Anti-Corruption is responsible for managing the network, generating and collecting scientific expertise and international findings on the topic of integrity, as well as for providing basic training and training materials to the officers. Integrity Officers undergo a comprehensive training composed of 32 teaching units and covering topics such as corruption prevention (national and international prevention instruments), compliance, law and the phenomenon of corruption (background, measurement, risk factors, national and international aspects).

The objectives of developing a sound Network of Integrity Officers include:

  • promoting integrity and preventing corruption across sectors;

  • restoring public trust in public institutions;

  • institutionalising national integrity management;

  • sharing experience;

  • creating synergy between public entities;

  • introducing consistency among national anti-corruption efforts and training.

Since the Network was set up, several advantages of its operation have been identified:

  • A public website and an internal communication platform have been developed and maintained by the Bureau.

  • Know-how has been smoothly communicated.

  • All sectors contribute resources, allowing for their collaborative use.

Source: Presentation by Ms. Martina Koger at the meeting of the OECD Working Party of Senior Public Integrity Officials (4 November 2016, Paris).

In terms of strategic role and mandate, the combination of a preventive and investigative anti-corruption role can be problematic. The investigative mandate may make public officials mistrustful; and their trust and co-operation are essential for mainstreaming the anti-corruption prevention agenda throughout the government. On the investigative side, every government agency contains an Ethics Protection Unit, a body reporting directly to the head of a government agency. This investigates facts concerning ethical violations and reports to the head of a government agency for consideration. In developing the Anti-Corruption Operation Centres, it would thus be preferable to maintain the focus on prevention. In line with this approach, the mandate for corruption reporting, investigations and enforcement needs to be reserved for other specialised bodies, such as the internal audit unit and the Ethics Protection Unit. In Germany, the Contact Persons for Corruption Prevention can fulfil their advisory role in a spirit of trust; this can in part be attributed to the fact that the Contact Person does not have a role in the complaint-handling process (Box ‎2.7).

Box ‎2.7. Germany’s Contact Persons for Corruption Prevention

Germany, at the federal level, has institutionalised units for corruption prevention and designated a person responsible for promoting corruption prevention measures within a public entity. The contact person and a deputy must be formally nominated. The Federal Government Directive concerning the Prevention of Corruption in the Federal Administration defines these contact persons and their tasks as follows:

  1. A contact person for corruption prevention shall be appointed based on the tasks and size of the agency. One contact person may be responsible for more than one agency. Contact persons may be charged with the following tasks:

    • serving as a contact person for agency staff and management, if necessary without having to go through official channels, along with private persons;

    • advising agency management;

    • keeping staff members informed (e.g. by means of regularly scheduled seminars and presentations);

    • assisting with training;

    • monitoring and assessing any indications of corruption;

    • helping keep the public informed about penalties under public service law and criminal law (preventive effect) while respecting the privacy rights of those concerned.

  2. If the contact person becomes aware of facts leading to the reasonable suspicion that a corruption offence has been committed, he or she shall inform the agency management and make recommendations on conducting an internal investigation, on taking measures to prevent concealment and on informing the law enforcement authorities. The agency management shall take the necessary steps to deal with the matter.

  3. Contact persons shall not be granted the authority to carry out disciplinary measures; they are not authorised to lead investigations in disciplinary proceedings for corruption cases.

  4. Agencies shall provide contact persons promptly and comprehensively with the information needed to perform their duties, particularly with regard to incidents of suspected corruption.

  5. In carrying out their duties of corruption prevention, contact persons shall be independent of instructions. They shall have the right to report directly to the head of the agency and may not be subject to discrimination as a result of performing their duties.

  6. Even after completing their term of office, contact persons shall not disclose any information they have gained about staff members’ personal circumstances; they may, however, provide such information to agency management or personnel management if they have a reasonable suspicion that a corruption offence has been committed. Personal data shall be treated in accordance with the principles of personnel records management.

Source: (Federal Ministry of the Interior, 2014[7]).

To ensure continuity and independence, Thailand may strengthen the merit-based system for appointing NACC commissioners

Anti-corruption is not simply a matter of diagnosing problems and applying solutions. Often, powerful interests will be directly affected by anti-corruption policies and will try to influence decision-making and implementation processes to reduce their reach. Anti-corruption agencies thus need to be shielded from undue political interference. Beyond the risk of undue influence, another reason for shielding anti-corruption agencies from short-term political fluctuations is continuity. Anti-corruption policies, especially preventive measures, usually need time to unfold and show any impact. Even without necessarily following the motive of purposely sabotaging anti-corruption efforts, each change at the head of an agency entails the risk of a change in policies, thus undermining the continuity and coherence of anti-corruption policies. The appointment procedure for the leadership of the NACC is enshrined in the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2560 (2017) (Box ‎2.8).

Box ‎2.8. Appointment procedure of the NACC leadership

Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2560 (2017), Section 232

  • The National Anti-Corruption Commission consists of nine commissioners appointed by the King upon the advice of the Senate from persons selected by the Selection Committee.

  • The selected persons must be persons of evident integrity who have knowledge, expertise and experience in the field of law, accounting, economy, administration of State affairs or in any other field beneficial to the prevention and suppression of corruption, and shall have any of the following qualifications:

    • serving or having served in the official service in a position not lower than Chief Justice, Chief Justice of the Administrative Court of First Instance, Chief Justice of the Central Military Court or Director-General of a State Attorney Department for a period of not less than five years;

    • serving or having served in the official service in a position not lower than a Director-General or an equivalent head of the government agency for a period of no less than five years;

    • being or having been in a position of the chief executive of a State enterprise or other State agency which is not a government agency or a State enterprise for a period of no less than five years;

    • holding or having held a position of professor in a university in Thailand for a period of no less than five years, and currently having recognised academic work;

    • being or having been a practitioner of a profession certified by law who has regularly and continuously practiced the profession for a period of no less than 20 years up to the date of nomination, and having been certified by the professional organisation of such a profession;

    • being a person with knowledge, expertise and experience in the field of management, public finance, accounting or enterprise management at the level of no lower than a chief executive of a public company limited for a period of no less than ten years;

    • having been in one of the aforementioned positions for a total period of no less than ten years.

Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2560 (2017), Section 233

  • The National Anti-Corruption Commissioners shall hold office for a term of seven years as from the date of appointment by the King, and shall serve for only one term.

  • During the period in which the National Anti-Corruption Commissioner vacates office prior to the expiration of term and a National Anti-Corruption Commissioner has not yet been appointed to fill the vacancy, the remaining Commissioners may continue to perform duties, unless the number of the remaining Commissioners is fewer than five persons.

Note: Resolution 40/2551 of 15 July, B.E. 2551 (2008), changed the official names of National Counter Corruption Commission and Office of the National Counter Corruption Commission to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) and Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (ONAC) respectively.

Source: Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2560 (2017).

The selection procedure for NACC, in accordance with Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand, B.E. 2560 (2017), and B.E. 2550 (2007), and the rules prescribed in the Organic Act on Counter Corruption, B.E. 2542 (1999), and its amendments stipulate that the Selection Committee shall have the duty to search and prepare a list of 18 selected persons to be nominated to the President of the Senate. Then the President of the Senate shall convoke a sitting of the Senate to pass a resolution to elect the nominated persons, and the voting shall be conducted by secret ballot. The person who receives the highest votes shall be elected as member. In any case, a person nominated to become a member shall be a person who of apparent integrity who does not have a disqualification prescribed by the Organic Act.

Although the procedure stipulates the endorsement of the NACC leadership by the selection committee and by the Senate, whilst mentioning the selection criteria of integrity and other qualifications, interviews with interlocutors from several agencies indicate that the perception exists that the government may weigh in on the appointment of candidates. In OECD countries like Latvia (Box ‎2.9), an open competition is carried out for the leadership of the anti-corruption agency. The selection commission consists of representatives of state institutions and NGOs, which contributes to the fairness and credibility of the appointment. Similarly, to strengthen its merit-based systems, the Government of Thailand may consider an open competition, involving non-government actors in the selection procedure.

Box ‎2.9. Latvia’s appointment procedure for the head of the anti-corruption agency

In Latvia, pursuant to the Law on Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau, the Director of the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) is appointed by the Saeima (Parliament) on the recommendation of the Cabinet of Ministers, for five years. The Cabinet of Ministers can announce an open competition for this position. Other Bureau officials in managerial positions, such as Deputies of the Director and heads of Divisions, as well as other officials of the KNAB, are appointed and dismissed by the Director. For example, in the process of appointment of the Director in 2004, the Cabinet of Ministers announced an open competition to which 20 candidates applied. The commission selecting candidates was headed by the Prime Minister and consisted of representatives of state institutions and one NGO.

Source: European Partners against Corruption Anti-Corruption Working Group (2008), “Common standards and best practices for anti-corruption agencies”, report by the Special Investigation Service (Lithuania) and the Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (Latvia).

Thailand could improve co-ordination and effectiveness of anti-corruption policy research by creating a policy research platform

Anti-corruption research brings evidence and insights to make informed decisions for anti-corruption policies, and may also shed light on emerging risk areas, as well as successful approaches to corruption prevention. In Thailand, anti-corruption research is integrated in the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, Phase 3, and currently various agencies and committees contribute to anti-corruption research, including: the Anti-Corruption Research Centre Puey Ungpakorn, NACC’s Sanya Dharmasakti Anti-Corruption Institute, PACC, OCSC, the Thailand Development Research Institute, and the Royal Police Cadet Academy.

However, various research initiatives have been undertaken independently, and no overview of existing projects and data or comprehensive research agenda have been put together. A co-ordinated approach may help identify emerging risk areas and link the research agenda with the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and anti-corruption policy objectives.

To ensure more effective policy research, Thailand may consider creating a research platform for co-ordination and the exchange of evidence amongst partnering public sector and academic actors. The platform may feature a website with publications, data sets, calls for projects and information on grant opportunities. The NACC, as the lead agency for anti-corruption across sectors, together with the Anti-Corruption Research Centre Puey Ungpakorn, could serve as a secretariat for this platform, to make sure linkages are established between research and the anti-corruption policy agenda.

To strengthen government accountability and anti-corruption policies, Thailand could reinforce the role of civil society organisations (CSO) in the anti-corruption policy cycle, and support CSO awareness-raising initiatives

Accountability is a cornerstone of good governance. Public officials and institutions must be subject to oversight and accountable for the decisions, effectiveness and performance of policies, as well as the efficient and fair use of public funds. Accountability actors can include autonomous oversight institutions (i.e. electoral bodies, supreme audit institutions, ombudsmen, etc.), as well as the media and civil society. Civil society organisations are particularly important for holding government personnel accountable for their actions and ensuring that government decisions are legitimate, as they represent the diverse interests of the public (The World Bank,(n.d.)[8]).

Civil society plays a key role in influencing and monitoring government, particularly in its efforts in fighting corruption. Specifically, three interrelated mechanisms or roles lead the interplay between the public sector and citizens in promoting a culture of integrity (Figure ‎2.5):

  • Participation in the policy cycle: Citizens can contribute at every stage of the anti-corruption policy cycle, for example via CSO consultation in the development of anti-corruption policies, as is the case in Thailand, or by measuring progress through citizen feedback indicators and mechanisms. In addition, citizens can contribute to good governance in policy implementation and public sector service delivery in various sectors, through reporting channels such as ombudsman services.

  • Oversight and accountability: This is the classic “watchdog” role of citizens, where public involvement strengthens the demand for integrity in the public sector and in society as a whole and is supported by CSOs, the media and relevant public institutions, such as supreme audit institutions.

  • Awareness-raising: This includes citizen education initiatives, communication campaigns and information exchange with the goal of improving mutual understanding and bringing about change in attitudes and behaviour in the areas of integrity and anti-corruption.

Figure ‎2.5. Interplay between citizens and the public sector
picture

Source: (OECD, 2016[9])

To enhance the contribution of CSOs to public integrity, several conditions need to be met. First, when governments call upon citizens and civil society to contribute to policy development, appropriate channels need to be available, effective and reliable. The willingness of the state to engage constructively with CSOs is crucial. Strengthening the relationship between the state and citizens in the fight against corruption will improve the quality of policies by integrating different points of view and enhancing public trust in the government and its actions. A healthy relationship between the government and CSOs can also help the government respond better to changing public trends. CSOs require sufficient resources and flexibility to participate effectively. Second, for citizens and civil society organisations to fulfil an oversight role as a so-called watchdog, data availability needs to be combined with data quality, processing capacity, effective whistleblower protection, and freedom of the press. Third, for civic education initiatives, government institutions and CSOs must tailor awareness-raising initiatives that promote integrity, both in the public sector and in society at large, to specific target groups in order to yield results.

Various civil society organisations in Thailand are working on relevant integrity issues, such as citizen empowerment, natural resources management and private sector integrity. The Anti-Corruption Organisation of Thailand (ACT), originally founded in 2011 as the Anti-Corruption Network, currently comprises over 50 member organisations from various sectors, all of which are committed to the fight against corruption. As mentioned above, civil society organisations are consulted for the development of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy. However, their role in the implementation of the strategy is less formalised or organised. Therefore, guided by the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, Thailand may strengthen co-operation with CSOs in the anti-corruption policy cycle to increase and improve oversight, awareness-raising, capacity development and civic education. To advance this process, Thailand may consider strengthening the Co-operation Centre for Good Governance and Anti-Corruption Promotion, which was established by PACC in 2016 (PACC order No. 218/2559, dated 25 April 2016). This multi-stakeholder initiative focuses on the oversight and awareness-raising roles of CSOs. As this is a relatively recent initiative, the experience of Colombia and Peru may be helpful in designing a suitable format for government-CSO co-operation on public integrity (Box ‎2.10).

Box ‎2.10. Government and non-government stakeholders in National Anti-Corruption

Colombia

The Anti-Corruption Statute established the National Committee for Moralisation (NCM), a high-level mechanism to co-ordinate strategies to prevent and fight corruption. The NCM is a multipartite body composed of the President of the Republic, the Inspector General, the Prosecutor General, the Comptroller General, the Auditor General, the head of the Congress and the President of the Supreme Court, amongst others. The NCM is responsible for information and data exchange between the bodies noted above, aiming to fight corruption; it also sets out mandatory indicators to assess transparency in the public administration. It adopts an annual strategy to promote ethical conduct in public administration, including workshops, seminars and pedagogical events on topics such as ethics and public morality, and on the duties and responsibilities of public officials.

The same Anti-Corruption Statute of 2011 created the National Citizens’ Committee for the Fight against Corruption (NCCFFC), a body that represents Colombian citizens to assess and improve policies to promote ethical conduct and curb corruption in both the public and private sectors. This committee is composed of representatives from a wide array of sectors, such as business associations, NGOs dedicated to the fight against corruption, universities, media, social audit representatives, the National Planning Council, trade unions and the Colombian Confederation of Freedom of Religion, Awareness and Worship. The NCCFFC issues a yearly report on anti-corruption policy evaluation; promotes codes of conduct for the private sector (in particular on preventing conflict of interest); closely monitors the measures taken in the Anti-Corruption Statute to improve public management, public procurement, the anti-paperwork policy, the democratisation of public administration, access to public information and citizen services; and promotes the active participation of social media in reporting corruption.

Peru

Peru’s High-Level Anti-Corruption Commission (Comisión Alto-nivel de Anti-corrupción, or CAN) was established by Law No. 29976 and its regulation in Decree No. 089-2013-PCM, which also outlines CAN’s mandate and responsibilities. CAN’s main activities are: organising efforts; co-ordinating the actions of multiple agencies; and proposing short, medium and long-term policies directed at preventing and curbing corruption in the country.

Like the NCCFFC in Colombia, CAN is formed by public and private institutions and civil society, and co-ordinates efforts and actions intended to combat corruption. Non-governmental actors include representatives of private business entities, labour unions, universities, media and religious institutions. Frequently bringing together diverse stakeholders is intended to encourage horizontal co-ordination and guarantee the coherence of the anti-corruption policy framework, and help protect CAN from undue influence by special interests.

Source: Peru, Law 29976 of 2013, which creates the High-Level Commission against Corruption.

Proposals for action

The institutional arrangement and effective co-ordination among the actors of the public integrity system is a fundamental aspect of Thailand’s efforts to enhance integrity and mitigate the risks of corruption at all levels. The OECD thus recommends that Thailand take the following steps to enhance its public integrity system, based on the development, implementation and monitoring of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, institutional co-ordination and stakeholder engagement:

Development, implementation and monitoring of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy

  • To increase the effectiveness of the National Anti-Corruption Strategy, Thailand could reinforce the secretariat function of the NACC Sub-Commission for Strategy Implementation in two ways, by encouraging a multi-stakeholder approach and by developing a monitoring and evaluation framework for the Strategy.

  • To help move beyond the public perception of corruption, Thailand could help make the measurement framework for anti-corruption policies more robust by using policy indicators.

  • Thailand could raise the strategic impact of the Integrity and Transparency Assessment (ITA) by fine-tuning its methodology and by integrating the ITA scores as indicators in the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

  • To increase the efficiency, coherence and sustainability of its anti-corruption initiatives, Thailand could establish a programmatic and multi-year approach to the budget allocation process, for measures and activities underpinning the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.

Institutional co-ordination and stakeholder engagement

  • To enhance the cost-effectiveness, efficiency and impact of corruption prevention efforts at the national level, Thailand could streamline the mandates of NACC, PACC and OCSC and consolidate the mandate for public sector integrity in the executive branch within PACC.

  • Thailand could centralise and consolidate the mandate for criminal investigations of corruption cases in the public sector within NACC, to increase efficiency.

  • Thailand could consider phasing out temporary anti-corruption bodies, such as the National Administration Centre for Anti-Corruption, and integrate them into the existing structures and mandates.

  • To help introduce anti-corruption policies throughout government institutions in a coherent way, Thailand could strengthen the operational capacity of the Anti-Corruption Operation Centres (ACOCs) and their co-ordination by PACC.

  • To ensure continuity and independence of institutional operations, Thailand could strengthen the merit-based system for appointing NACC commissioners.

  • Thailand could improve co-ordination and effectiveness of anti-corruption policy research by establishing a policy research platform.

  • To increase government accountability and the effectiveness of anti-corruption policies, Thailand could reinforce the role of civil society organisations in the anti-corruption policy cycle, including by supporting CSO awareness-raising initiatives.

References

[6] Colombian Transparency Secretariat((n.d.)), Observatorio de Transparencia, http://www.anticorrupcion.gov.co/paginas/Indicadores.aspx (accessed on 13 February 2018).

[7] Federal Ministry of the Interior (2014), Rules on Integrity, https://www.bmi.bund.de/SharedDocs/downloads/EN/publikationen/2014/rules-on-integrity.pdf?__blob=publicationFile.

[5] Lamboo, T. and J. de Jong (2016), “Monitoring integrity: The development of an integral integrity monitor for public administration in the Netherlands”, Integrity Management in the Public Sector. The Dutch Approach, https://slidex.tips/download/integrity-management-in-the-public-sector-the-dutch-approach-edited-by-leo-huber.

[4] Mathisen, H. et al. (2011), “How to monitor and evaluate anti-corruption agencies: Guidelines for agencies, donors, and evaluators” U4 Issue No. 8, https://www.u4.no/publications/how-to-monitor-and-evaluate-anti-corruption-agencies-guidelines-for-agencies-donors-and-evaluators-2/.

[9] OECD (2016), Open Government in Indonesia, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264265905-en.

[2] OECD (2017), OECD Integrity Scan of Kazakhstan: Preventing Corruption for a Competitive Economy, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264272880-en.

[3] OECD (2017), “Monitoring and Evaluating Integrity Policies”, https://one.oecd.org/#/document/GOV/PGC/INT(2017)4/en?_k=vpoh5x.

[1] The Nation (2016), Prayut carrying burden of anti-corruption fight, http://www.nationmultimedia.com/news/opinion/today_editorial/30302113.

[8] The World Bank((n.d.)), “Accountability in Governance”, https://siteresources.worldbank.org/PUBLICSECTORANDGOVERNANCE/Resources/AccountabilityGovernance.pdf (accessed on 13 February 2018).