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United Kingdom

Anti-Corruption and International Illicit Finance (UK0102)


IRM Review

IRM Report: United Kingdom Action Plan Review 2021-2023

Early Results: Pending IRM Review

Design i

Verifiable: Yes

Relevant to OGP Values: Yes

Ambition (see definition): Low

Implementation i

Completion: Pending IRM Review


Objective: enhancing transparency and collaboration in UK government anti-corruption and international illicit finance activity

Improving transparency and collaboration in UK government efforts to detect and tackle corruption and illicit finance, building on commitments in the UK’s G7 presidency.

What is the problem that the commitment will address? Corruption and illicit finance drain public resources, leach trust in democratic institutions and threaten the stability and security of societies. This makes socio-economic imbalances worse and disproportionately affects women and girls. The pandemic has provided new opportunities for corruption to flourish, while undermining the ability of institutions to tackle the increased threat. During the UK’s G7 presidency, Interior Ministers made a strong public commitment against the threats from corruption and kleptocracy: G7 statement against corruption and kleptocracies. Illicit financial activities, including the misuse of shell companies and the ability of illicit actors to hide wealth, have a profoundly corrosive effect on open societies, security, and prosperity. This is a global problem that also enables crime on the streets of the UK. The UK is a global financial centre and leader in diplomacy and development, and also plays a leading role in tackling the problem internationally. We also recognise that it is important to ensure strong safeguards against corruption at home as well as tackling the UK’s role in global illicit financial flows.

How will the commitment contribute to solving the problem? The broad and transnational nature of corruption and illicit finance means that strong partnerships are required involving governments, the private sector and civil society at local, national and global levels. Greater transparency and collaboration will strengthen the effectiveness of such efforts. The UK will work with partners to promote the conditions needed for civil society’s contribution to achieving the objectives of the UN Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), including independent operation without fear of reprisal. We will actively collaborate with civil society through the US Summit for Democracy process and the 2022 ‘Year of Action’. As part of that process we will encourage other countries to do the same. We will take forward relevant commitments from the UK’s G7, notably as they relate to a Unified G7 voice, open procurement, real estate transparency and beneficial ownership. We will publish annual data covering international asset returns and recovered assets stemming from proceeds of crime, and publicise bilateral agreements detailing the use of returned assets, in line with the G-FAR principles. We will encourage other countries to do the same by sharing our experiences in multilateral fora. We will also support countries to request assistance to recover assets, by maintaining high quality and up to date Mutual Legal Assistance (MLA) guidance on our websites. We will continue to promote the wider participation of the private sector and of civil society as part of a holistic approach to preventing and countering corruption. Therefore, we will seek to understand and reflect their views more consistently through engagement with representatives from these groups at a working level. In the coming year this engagement will especially focus on the development of the successor to the UK’s Anti-Corruption Strategy and an updated Economic Crime Plan. As anti-corruption is a cross-cutting topic, deliverables across this National Action Plan, for example covering open procurement, will contribute to work in this area. Below is a summary of initial deliverables and, in order to fully meet the Open Government Partnership Articles of Governance, the government will amend and develop these initial deliverables with civil society over the next six months.

Milestones to fulfil the commitment New or ongoing Start Date End Date Use the UK’s membership to continue to champion the adoption of public registers of company beneficial ownership. Attend biannual meetings at both political and technical levels of the Beneficial Ownership Leadership Group, and engage other partners, including governments and international institutions, to advance the objective of making beneficial ownership transparency a global norm. New Sep 2021 Ongoing Continue to work collaboratively with and provide assistance to the Ongoing Ongoing 2023 Overseas Territories on implementing publicly accessible registers of company beneficial ownership by the end o f 2023, including providing access to support from Open Ownership. Commit to regular engagement with civil society and private sector partners including on policy discussions in the domestic and multilateral space. Inclusion of a civil society representative in the UK delegation to the 2021 UNCAC Conference of States Parties, quarterly meetings with the UK Anti-Corruption Coalition, and active collaboration with civil society in the Summit for Democracy Year of Action Ongoing Ongoing Ongoing Commit to engage with a wide range of stakeholders including civil society in the development of the successor to the UK’s AC Strategy and and a new Economic Crime Plan New March 2022 Dec 2022 Strengthen transparency in our asset recovery and return, through: the publication of asset return statistics and support of other countries that request our help to recover proceeds of crime by maintaining high quality mutual legal assistance guidance on relevant websites. Collaborate with non-government stakeholders including civil society to uphold the GFAR principles, where possible, and particularly to give effect to Principle 4 New Sep 2021 Ongoing (Transparency and Accountability) and Principle 10 (inclusion of non-government stakeholders).

IRM Midterm Status Summary

Action Plan Review

Commitment 5. Anti-corruption and international illicit finance

● Verifiable: Yes

● Does it have an open government lens? Yes

● Potential for results: Modest


Open Government Partnership