Executive summary

Romania’s National Anti-Corruption Strategy (NAS) 2021-2025 lays the foundations for mainstreaming integrity policies through the entire public administration, including at sector level. This report considers the integrity measures included in the strategy for three at-risk sectors: health, education and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) where the development of sector-level preventive policies is still ongoing and in need of fine-tuning. Public institutions in these three sectors need to take greater ownership of the national anti-corruption and integrity framework and adapt it to their particular context.

The OECD has assessed the NAS 2021-2025 in several priority areas and makes the following recommendations for the remaining implementation period.

In line with the 2017 OECD Recommendation on Public Integrity, the NAS 2021-2025 identifies and consolidates integrity policies using a risk-based approach. A risk-based approach will enable Romania to focus their resources and take enhanced measures in situations where the risks are higher.

Across sectors, the OECD looked at the need to promote co-operation among integrity actors and to mainstream integrity policies at sector level. The OECD assessment highlighted both challenges and opportunities for future strategies.

  • Integrity strategies and reforms are inconsistently implemented at sector level due to a lack of leadership support. Ethics counsellors, in charge of mainstreaming integrity policies at sector level, have limited capacity to promote integrity policies throughout the public administration and “integrity plans” have become an increasingly formal exercise.

  • The health and education sectors are yet to develop a solid and explicit diagnosis of integrity problems, taking into account corruption risks as well as actual cases of corruption and capture, in their respective sectors.

  • The health and education sectors underutilise integrity tools. For example, they could carry out risk analyses of common conflict-of-interest situations in each sector, implement ex ante procurement controls, and systematically analyse declarations of interests to identify and address alleged misconduct or instances of institutional capture.

  • Weak integrity management systems and organisational integrity cultures in the health sector undermine fair processes. This happens mainly through distorting procurement processes, extorting shares of hospital employee salaries, diverting patients to costly private sector practices (in particular for diagnostics), or extorting bribes for services.

  • Even though the education sector has several integrity mechanisms, many of them are not effective and uncoordinated.

  • Weak ownership arrangement and inadequate implementation of risk-management and internal control mechanisms make State-owned enterprises (SOEs) particularly prone to corruption risks.

To address the challenges identified, the report provides concrete recommendations to support the government of Romania in developing and improving integrity measures in key strategic sectors.

  • Increase political engagement in the design phase (and, eventually, implementation) of the NAS while supporting and empowering ethics counsellors to spearhead the application of ethics frameworks.

  • Provide further guidance to institutions on integrity plans and risk assessments, including developing a national study of specific types of integrity breaches, the actors likely to be involved and the likelihood or expected impact of corruption risks.

  • Identify the bottlenecks and resource gaps hindering the implementation of “integrity plans” and, based on these, develop tailored guidelines for embedding risk assessments at sector level, providing concrete examples from the organisation’s day-to-day business.

  • Develop a robust diagnosis of integrity problems in at-risk sectors, such as health and education. This diagnosis should assess integrity and corruption risks and identify cases of corruption and clientelism. An independent analysis, by civil society or academia, could complement the diagnosis to ensure credibility and legitimacy.

  • Promote integrity tools at sector level, including making the sectors responsible and accountable for identifying and managing conflicts of interest while providing guidance on typical cases of conflict of interest in the sectors.

  • Strengthen integrity management systems and organisational integrity cultures in health institutions by creating a network of sector-specific ethics counsellors and developing more stringent processes throughout the sector.

  • Conduct an analysis of integrity needs in the education sector. This analysis could include the following three areas: (i) mandatory education; (ii) examinations and standardised testing; and (iii) higher education.

  • Strengthen ownership arrangements of SOEs, including by establishing clear expectations around integrity and safeguarding the autonomy of SOEs decision-making bodies.

  • Promote integrity tools across SOEs, including internal and external controls, ethics and compliance measures and disclosure requirements to prevent, detect and mitigate corruption-related risks.


This document, as well as any data and map included herein, are without prejudice to the status of or sovereignty over any territory, to the delimitation of international frontiers and boundaries and to the name of any territory, city or area.

Photo credits: Cover © Mihai-Daniel ANDREI

Corrigenda to OECD publications may be found on line at: www.oecd.org/about/publishing/corrigenda.htm.

© OECD 2023

The use of this work, whether digital or print, is governed by the Terms and Conditions to be found at https://www.oecd.org/termsandconditions.