Transparency Times April 2020

From the Chair: Easter 2020 Greetings

TINZ Chair Suzanne Snively. commenting on Minister Shaw's 'Green, Greener, Greenest' presentation on 21 March 2018 (Photo by Eva Caprinay)

Transparency saves lives this Easter

How different this Easter is from any other we’ve ever experienced. Instead of celebrating new life, we will be grieving the loss of tens of thousands of people globally.

With transparency evident around our community testing and quarantine at the borders, New Zealanders are likely to experience a happier Easter than many. The focus on testing and identifying contacts provides a basis for optimism that New Zealand’s efforts to stamp out the virus will enable a staged return to a more normal lifestyle earlier than elsewhere.

Easter in the US will be hard

My best memories of Easter are as young child living in upstate New York.

My father always bought gardenia corsages for my mother and me with button-hole carnations for him and my two brothers. I can even remember the lovely smell of the flowers which could be kept fresh for a week in the fridge.

Once our corsages and hats were pinned on, we would head to church in a GM Oldsmobile on a lovely spring day. Afterwards at home we would watch celebrities out walking in their Easter hats, on our General Electric TV.

During Easter 2020, New York State will be experiencing more positive cases of COVID-19 and deaths than almost all other countries.

If New Zealand’s success in containing the virus holds, New Yorkers and other Americans may see that it makes sense to be at home, not attending church. If they are out walking, they will be keeping their social distance. If florists are still an ‘essential service’ there, they will be happy if they can smell them since one of the symptoms of the virus is lack of smell.

Instead of pinning on flowers, New Yorkers are donning masks. Instead of making cars and televisions, General Motors and General Electric are producing hundreds of thousands of ventilators. This is because the virus continues to be spread through community transmission. Leaders in US states were slow to move to community isolation. They were driven by a focus on the economic impact and listening to fake news. This was instead of monitoring the scientific knowledge about the way pandemics spread that has been available for years and unfolding in real life since January. 

Global data is there for all to see

Caught in the maelstrom of the virus crisis, governments of all ideologies have been forced to face up to the stark and painful reality that they are not gods. Leaders worldwide – even the most autocratic ones – have been humbled by first-hand experience of the tragedy growing to nightmare proportion in New York and other global hot spots. This virus is lethal. No one can be sure of being immune from it and there is no known cure.

It is the effectiveness of their public health policy that distinguishes the real leaders.

Our interconnected planet provides an opportunity for a comparison of transparent testing, reporting and monitoring unlike any previous crisis. The scientist’s petri dish has expanded to real time analysis of data by country. There are several great statistical sources such as Worldometer, updated at least daily. They have been tracking the pandemic from an early stage – back to when China publicly acknowledged its first case of COVID-19 in January.

As well as recording positive cases and deaths, Worldometer is now also providing daily updates by country, on the number of tests being done. This means that the impact of testing on community transmission can be compared with the other data of reported positive cases and deaths.

New Zealand’s daily tests-per-million are above average and its deaths-per-million amongst the lowest. New Zealand is ramping up its testing to catch up with countries like Norway and South Korea, which were also early adopters of public health plans to address COVID-19.

New Zealand’s government moves to stamp out the virus

The day before April Fool’s Day, perhaps so everyone would realise it wasn’t a joke, government officials announced that New Zealand’s policy objective moved from “flattening the curve” to “elimination of the COVID-19 virus.”

At that stage testing here was under 2,000 tests a day. To effectively stamp out the virus, focus turned to increasing the capacity for testing of suspected infection, to over 6,000. To be effective, the testing needs to reach that capacity. It needs to be nationwide with assurance that it is taking place in vulnerable rural and urban communities.

Those taking the test need to be quarantined until the test result is known. If they test positive, any community contacts need to be contacted and tested within a maximum of 4 days. Transparency about the timing of tests and identification of contacts reported daily along with the number of tests provides assurance that steps are being taken designed to stamp out community transmission.

The Ministry of Health’s data indicates that our positive cases are largely related to people arriving in New Zealand by plane. The group most vulnerable to death, 70+, has far lower numbers of positive cases than those aged 20-29.

To stamp out the virus in communities, tighter controls at the borders are also required with every arrival quarantined.

Based on the advice of a group of 40 or so science commentators led by University of Otago Public Health Professor, Michael Baker, New Zealand moved to community isolation and then to Alert Level 4 quicker than just about anywhere else in the world. According to Baker, “It meant that all those chains of transmission that might have been occurring around New Zealand [from the virus if people had continued to be in physical contact with each other] were effectively quarantined and could extinguish themselves.”

Moving quickly into lockdown takes courage

With unemployment rising, NGOs struggling, many businesses and sporting bodies facing insolvency, the COVID-19 cure is a painful one.

In addition, there is tension in the community with people self-isolating exacerbating mental health problems. Despite the Prime Minister’s exhortation that we be kind, family harm has exceeded previous levels.

In this tense environment, not all scientists and statisticians agree. Some think that different and less draconian measures would have worked to curb the virus without such severe economic and social impact. Transparency of these discussions is important however, to identify lessons learned so we can do better next time.

As clinicians in New York are finding this Easter, the COVID-19 virus is unpredictable. We need to continue testing to remain safe well after we leave the lockdown. Once we leave, the social and economic costs to people’s health could be even greater if we must return to lockdown again.

So, the COVID-19 frontline in New Zealand has moved from hospitals to those doing the testing. As the Prime Minister says, “test, test, test.” With testing, quarantining of contacts and social isolation, our hospitals have yet to see the expected influx in serious COVID-19 cases. If this holds, they will be able to refocus their resources back to their pre-COVID activities.

Easter Greetings


By Easter Sunday 2020 in New Zealand, it will be clearer whether our hospitals can go back to saving the lives of patients with other medical conditions. If everyone has a “staycation” and with the lockdown at Alert 4 for at least another week after Easter, there are likely to be fewer patients from traffic accidents or sporting injuries. This will allow waiting lists for other medical treatments to be addressed.

Based on the time taken to contain the virus in places like New York and elsewhere, it may be a long-time before world-wide international travel resumes.

Meanwhile, border controls and following local ways of locking-down appears to be working for Pacific Island countries as well as here. Australia is not too far behind. By transparently recording the processes and results of community-wide testing here and sharing best practices with our neighbours we are optimistic about eliminating the virus from the South Pacific.

If so, we might be able to widen our bubbles to include our island neighbours and smell the gardenias sooner than next Easter. 

Suzanne Snively, ONZM

Chair

Transparency International New Zealand Inc.

COVID-19: A vital lesson in the importance of science in decision-making

Len Cook
Member with Delegated Authority FOR WHAT?

Len Cook
Transparency International Member with Delegated Authority

The recognition by Ministers in New Zealand of the vital importance of our epidemiologists in tracking and modelling the path of COVID -19 has put a powerful spotlight on the cost of scientific ignorance in government decision-making around the world.

Science can be ignored even in scientifically powerful nations. The initial COVID-19 responses of the authoritarian China, the theocratic state of Iran, or the populist leadership of Donald Trump are life threatening examples.

In the face of this, New Zealand’s epidemiologists have been one of the mainstays of Ministerial decision-making, to the great credit of both. Public trust here appears to be very high causing strong compliance with the directions of the government.

Statistical Science is needed to connect COVID-19 experiences to the population at large

Currently, people typically only present themselves to the health services through showing signs of a relevant condition for COVID-19 (e.g. respiratory illness) or have been traced as a contact by someone who has tested positive with the virus. The prevalence of COVID -19 in the population is not measured by these processes. An unknown number of people will have COVID -19 but not be visible to those making policy.

This is complicated by reports that a significant portion of those who have or catch COVID -19 will be asymptomatic yet may still infect others

From what we measure now, we can validate for New Zealand the knowledge from other countries about the impact on different age groups. This includes the affected share that is likely to be asymptomatic, virus transmission rates and the duration of infectiousness.

If we could measure the prevalence in the population at large at different points of time we would have more confidence in the systemic approaches needed allowing for policy change without risk of going backwards.

What we have through epidemiology is an excellent compass, but we need a sextant – our population sampling expertise – to tell us where we are at. Without this, we are uncertain about our starting point or where we will end up. Leading epidemiologists have been calling for this for several days, and we need to recognise the risks we are running through incomplete information that is obtainable if we were to seek it. Indeed, implicit in current policy settings there is an assumption of the prevalence of COVID -19 in the population at large that we appear not have attempted to assess. And yet statistical techniques provide the means to validate.

A public health blog recently released today (Testing for COVID-19 in NZ to Achieve the Elimination Goal) which I  co-authored, notes “Closer to the point of elimination of COVID-19, a phased removal of restrictions on economic activity will start, a process that may last many months.  It will be essential during that period to have in place the means to provide public confidence in government’s capacity to ensure that isolated cases as they arise are not a reversal of elimination. Managing the oversight of COVID-19 risk as well as the public’s welfare during the very essential recovery brings difficult political choices, and building confidence in these needs to be founded on trustworthy statistics based on measurement processes that have to be more frequent and timely than we are used to.” 

Vigilance, transparency and monitoring critical for COVID-19 responses

Times of crisis bring out the very best of nearly everyone. Unfortunately it also brings out the few who look at this as a time of opportunity. From small scale scams on individuals to misuse of billions earmarked for aid, this is a time of great risk. There are lots of warnings, let’s heed them.

From our 28 March Media Release:

Parliamentary monitoring and reporting is critical for COVID-19 responses

“The risk of fraud and corruption is compounded during crises like the COVID-19 pandemic. When quick decisions are necessary to move vast amounts of resources, then bribery, fraud and corruption abound,” says Suzanne Snively, Chair of Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ). “We must anticipate this now to avoid dilution of our government’s relief and recovery efforts.”

Billions of taxpayers’ dollars are at stake. Unless policies designed to distribute money, include controls to weed out fraudulent claims and mandate oversight, we will not prevent the corrupt from redirecting resources for personal gain.

The Auditor-General reminds chief executives to get it right

In early April John Ryan, the Auditor-General, wrote to the Chief Executives of a range of public agencies, to remind them of getting the fundamentals right. Doing this is critical to managing the risks associated with the pace, scale, and complexity of responding to Covid-19. See COVID-19: Important governance matters to consider.

These fundamentals are relevant to any organisation in a time of crisis, but particularly the public service as it manages business as usual as well as the most unusual business we have faced in a long time. The Auditor-General highlights the importance of strong governance and effective systems and controls. This includes ensuring that the lines of accountability remain clear, with documentation around sign off, especially where emergency expenditure is being used or emergency powers exercised. Accountability is also achieved by tracking spending and providing reports on it.

John Ryan also alerts Chief Executives to the increased risk of fraud as a result of prioritising the pandemic. They can manage this risk by keeping a close eye on controls based on oversight, sign off, separation of duties and evidence of delivery. Cyber fraud is also likely to be on the increase especially with people working remotely, and there are certainly reports of increased phishing and attempts at cyber fraud. Staff need to be reminded and be mindful of these risks.

Because of the large drawings from the public purse, the Auditor General urges Chief Executives to be mindful of sensitive expenditure, and to always consider what is and is not appropriate use of public money. He encourages them to access the expertise available in audit and risk committees, for advice and support and for improving the risk management focus. The Auditor General also talks about managing risks to normal service delivery whilst the focus is on COVID response, and having a backup plan to ensure continuity of services, leadership and decision-making in the event of senior leaders becoming unwell.

Warnings from Civil Society

Access Info Europe and civil society organisations: Now more than ever: Transparency and Whistleblower Protection. In an open letter, they highlight the need for transparency so that citizens can scrutinise governments and businesses. They point to examples of wrongdoing that have already been exposed in areas including health system management and public procurement. They call on all public authorities to ensure and strengthen whistleblower protection during the state of emergency caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Democracy Needs Protecting!

Serena Lillywhite, Chief Executive Officer of Transparency International Australia has an excellent article posted on their website, The health of our democracy also needs protecting in a crisis.

As Australia and the rest of the world deal with the deadly outbreak of Covid-19 and its economic fallout, many countries, regions and cities have declared a state of emergency. This has granted authorities extraordinary powers to try to prevent the spread of the virus. But at what cost to our democracy? Read the full article…

The rule of law matters even more during an emergency

Dr John Hopkins
Professor University of Canterbury
TINZ Director

An article appearing in Stuff by Dr W John Hopkins demonstrates why the rule of law matters even more during the COVID-19 Crisis. He is a professor at the University of Canterbury Law School, specialising in law and disasters, and TINZ Director.

Dr Hopkins notes that: “The decision to trigger a state of emergency under the Civil Defence and Emergency Management Act (CDEMA) on March 25 was unprecedented. Although there have been a number of such declarations in the past, no government has utilised the powers found in the CDEMA so extensively (alongside the Epidemic Preparedness Act 2006) to place the whole country in quarantine. This dramatic response is to be commended but it comes with legal risks that need to be recognised.”  The full article is here.

Protect the voices we are losing during times of crisis.

Margaret Kawharu

(Ngāti Whātua/Mahurehure)

Senior Māori Advisor at Massey University

Guest commentary

As we focus on protecting everyone’s health and well-being from this unprecedented global virus, we are made acutely aware of life and death and the ways in which we manage the transition from one to the other.

Covid-19 guidelines for funerals and burials

New Zealand’s Ministry of Health spelt out the strict funeral and burial conditions that must be adhered to when a loved one dies, from a known or unknown cause or from Covid 19. It acknowledges the difficulties in not being able to mourn according to custom. “Bereaved families and whānau from all cultures and backgrounds will find this time challenging. This makes it even more important to show each other kindness, care, manaakitanga and aroha.”

Tikanga compromise

A few days ago, in response to advice from Te Rōpū Whakakaupapa Urutā (National Māori Pandemic Group), those guidelines were amended slightly but significantly to recognise one aspect of ‘tikanga’ Māori. This term was defined by the late Bishop Manu Bennett as the ‘right person, doing the right thing, in the right way’. By adapting the guidelines, funeral directors are now able to permit family and whānau from the same isolation bubble as the deceased, to go to the funeral home to view the body. This is, in essence, to assist the passage of the deceased’s spirit on its spiritual journey.

The tragedy of voices we are losing

As Ernesto Ottone, UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Culture said recently, “COVID-19 has put many intangible cultural heritage practices, including rituals, rites and ceremonies, both religious and non-religious, on hold, with important consequences for the social and cultural life of communities everywhere.”

The tragedy of not being able to give full and appropriate expression to grief, and common ties of kinship and descent in a community setting, is not being able to honour and acknowledge a person’s worth as a living human being and their contribution to the living.

The occasion of death also permits the restatement of a community’s underpinning values, the continuity of connection between past ancestors and future generations, and distinctive practices and principles.

Giacomo Lichtner, Associate Professor of History and Film at Victoria University wrote, “Forbidden Mourning: Covid 19 threatens our collective memory”. While we focus on the plight of the vulnerable, the safety and health of the general population and the impact of Covid 19 on the economy, Lichtner implores us to consider the voices we are losing, the stories that make up our collective memory and how we might “protect, record and cherish them, while we still have a chance.”

Government procurement: Open data about supplier contracts

Laurence Millar
Member with Delegated Authority for Open Government

Laurence Millar

TINZ Member with Delegated Authority for Open Government

Transparency International New Zealand (TINZ) welcomes the regular release of information about the awarding of government contracts from the Government Electronic Tender Service (GETS). In February 2020, the Ministry of Business, Innovation & Employment (MBIE) published details of awards made from 1 July to 31 December 2019 as open data. MBIE will continue to publish the data quarterly from now on. The publication is part of a commitment from the New Zealand government under its Third Open Government Partnership National Action Plan.

Open data about the awarding of government contracts

The availability of data about government expenditure is an essential component of transparency. Government expenditure via procurement through tenders, contracting and other systems designed to allocate funds, is around 40% of total central government spending and over 60% of Auckland Council spending.

The published data contains information on 1,449 tenders (Requests for Proposal, Requests for Quotation, Requests for Tender) issued by 119 government agencies. The number of awards by different agency type, and the number of agencies from each type are shown in Figure 1.

Figure 1: Number of awards and number of agencies by different types

The most valuable fields for analysis are:

  • Award Type – either Awarded or Not Awarded
  • Award Amount – the amount of the contract
  • Supplier Name – the supplier(s) that have been awarded the contract

TINZ’s position is that all government contracts should be published in full when signed. This policy has been implemented in Colombia, which is ranked by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) as #3 in the world for Open Government. (New Zealand is #13).

Significant shortfalls in transparency

The publication of the NZ procurement data by MBIE is to be applauded. But the quality and completeness of the data published by government agencies continues to fall well short of genuine transparency. There is plenty of room for improvement.

This initial release of the data highlights opportunities to improve the quality of the data loaded in three key database fields (Award Type, Award Amount and Supplier Name). For example:

  • 341 tenders (24%) are recorded as “Not Awarded”. High level analysis indicates that the text in the Comments field of 160 tenders contain information about the successful supplier(s) and the amount of the contract. Storage of this information within the Comments text field hampers effective analysis.
  • Around 85% of the tenders have information about the successful suppliers, but because of the use of the Comments field and variations in company names it is not easy to conduct further analysis. This would easily be overcome by publishing the NZBN (NZ Business Number) to identify how many contracts are won by individual companies. Suppliers are required to provide an NZBN number to register for government procurement.
  • 368 (27%) of the awarded tenders have information about the value of the contract. This information is in the Award Amount field for 315 notices with a total value of $309 million. 53 awards included information on the award amount in the Comments field (estimated at around $150 million).
  • Total government expenditure during the period was over $20 billion. The total value reported in the MBIE data is around $450 million. Published data represents information for a minimal proportion of government expenditure during the period.

If we look more closely at publication by individual agencies:

  • 9 agencies published the key award data (amount and supplier) for every tender awarded
  • 28 agencies published the key award data for some tenders awarded
  • 55 agencies did not publish the award amount for any tender that they awarded
  • 27 agencies recorded all their tenders as “not awarded”.

The quality of data published on awards by each agency type are shown in figure 2.

Figure 2: Percentage of awards with different levels of information published

TINZ would like to acknowledge the following nine agencies for their accountability and transparency. They published the award amount details for all their tenders during the period:

  • Central Hawkes Bay District Council
  • Greater Wellington Regional Council
  • Health Quality and Safety Commission
  • Hutt City Council
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade
  • New Zealand Qualifications Authority
  • Northland District Health Board
  • Pacific Cooperation Broadcasting Limited
  • Westland District Council.

Plan for improvement

TINZ strongly encourages government agencies to improve the quality of data that they record in the GETS system. It looks forward to better government procurement based on the evidence from analysis of awards. Simple short-term improvements are:

  • Accurate and timely completion of the Award type – either Awarded or Not Awarded.
  • Accurate and timely completion of the Award Amount – the amount of the contract
  • Use of NZBN when possible to record the supplier(s) who were awarded the contract.

Open Government: Persistent concerns must be addressed

Keitha Booth
Open Government Partnership's
Independent Researcher

Keitha Booth

Independent Researcher for New Zealand’s Open Government Partnership

New Zealand needs to address long-standing open government engagement and content issues in its next Open Government Partnership (OGP) National Action Plan (NAP).

In the OGP’s IRM Design Report 2018-2020 I recommend that New Zealand’s next OGP National Action Plan addresses long-standing open government engagement and content issues. I am keen to see the government and the public work together to resolve these issues and enable more New Zealanders to participate regularly in New Zealand’s democracy.

Creating even higher openness of government’s business will help maintain the public’s trust in the government as it leads New Zealand’s COVID19 response now and over the next years. The recent decision to publish the fourth National Action Plan in mid-2021 allows good time to consider these recommendations fully.

In the Design Report I recommend:

  1. full reform of the Official Information Act 1982
  2. government working on equal terms with communities to create a public participation Community of Practice or Hub
  3. teaching civics education at community and local government level, and
  4. strengthening high-quality public media reporting of local government.

I also recommend that the government strengthen the role and mandate of its OGP Expert Advisory Panel (EAP). Government must provide the EAP with the ability to work more effectively with public communities during the development  and implementation of its national action plans.

A government/civil society decision to include these recommendations in New Zealand’s next, fourth, National Action Plan would acknowledge criticism since New Zealand joined the OGP in 2013. This criticism is that National Action Plans have not fully addressed long-standing open government issues in our country.

These recommendations are drawn from my 2019 research and interviews with members of the public, developed before the current COVID-19 pandemic.

Reform the Official Information Act

Official Information Act (OIA) reform needs to extend the scope of the OIA to meet 21st century practice. It could encompass Parliamentary Services, the Office of the Clerk, the Ombudsman and the Controller and Auditor General, whilst retaining parliamentary privilege, in line with the recommendations by the Law Commission in 2012 and others. It could build on more recent administrative and legislative developments such as the Parliamentary Privilege Act 2014.

This activity assumes that the Government chooses to further review the OIA following completion of Commitment 7 of its 2018-2020 National Action Plan. This commitment was limited to providing advice to the Government on whether to initiate a formal review of official information legislation.

Community of practice

A public participation Community of Practice or Hub, could develop expertise and standard practice for communities and the government to jointly create government policy and design government services. This would acknowledge the concern raised in 2019 that only two of New Zealand’s 2018-2020 OGP commitments offer adequate engagement with our diverse communities. National action plan engagement commitments to date, have focussed on government practice rather than joint practice with the public.

A priority new activity could be to devise how to maintain and sustain public engagement with the government in times of country lockdown, physical distancing and subsequent long-term change. There is already a sign that public consultation has been deferred at local government level.

Civics education

Applying civics education learning at community and local government level could use the resources in the School Leavers’ Toolkit developed by Commitment 3 of the 2018-2020 National Action Plan. This activity, aimed at increasing youth’s democratic understanding and engagement, would be New Zealand’s first OGP local government commitment, long sought by the public. It could build on existing work such as at Porirua City Council.

High-quality public media

Strengthening high-quality public media reporting could continue or extend the current Local Democracy Reporting Service pilot whose purpose is to provide greater transparency and public accountability of local government decision making. This pilot could extend to more New Zealand regions and communities, counter increasing misinformation and assist New Zealand’s already financially challenged media businesses as they adapt to whatever future is brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Strengthen Expert Advisory Panel

Strengthening the role and mandate of the government’s Expert Advisory Panel (EAP) to meet the OGP’s requirements for New Zealand’s multi-stakeholder forum would build on its present role and success in working with government officials. EAP membership could be amended to comprise equal numbers of government officials and members of the public. The civil society members could be elected by the public, not chosen by government. This could be a solution to the EAP’s current limited ability to lead discussions with civil society organisations about resourcing or funding their OGP work.

Based on IRM analysis of all the commitment specifications in the earlier National Action Plans and the OGP’s plans for future IRM reviews, I recommend that the commitments in New Zealand’s next national action plan:

  • have clear objectives and actions 
  • specify expected results at the policy or government reform level
  • include measures to assess these results.

For further explanation read the IRM Design Report 2018-2020, released in mid-February 2020. This report proposes extra activities for New Zealand’s current 12 OGP commitments. Should completion of this work be deferred this year due to COVID-19, these could be seriously considered as new activities over the next year. They will be discussed in a future issue of Transparency Times.

 

The Citizen’s Handbook satirical series

A new RNZ podcast and video series The Citizen’s Handbook will be launched at 7pm Thursday 16 April … a treat in store for your bubble during your lockdown! 

It explains the (often unfortunate) events of New Zealand’s history. It is designed to teach us how to be a good citizen, by tackling the issues of history, politics, law, economics and international relations in a satirical way. It has been created by:

  • Robbie Nicols best known as the creator and host of the political comedy webseries, White Man Behind A Desk, also on YouTube, and
  • Finnius Teppett, the award-winning writer for theatre, television, and film.  

It features a number of well-known actors and comedians including Tom Sainsbury, Eli Matthewson, Kura Forrester, Jamaine Ross and more.

The Deloitte Australia and New Zealand Bribery and Corruption Report 2020

By Julie Haggie
Chief Executive Officer
Transparency International New Zealand

Culture is the key to beating corruption

“In the wake of COVID-19, Australasian organisations are entering a period of unique uncertainty, pressure and potentially global recession. Under these extremely challenging circumstances, bribery and corruption may become attractive to struggling businesses and their executives. … now is the time to lean into our ethical standards, not abandon them. The decisions leaders make now will affect their organisations long after the crisis is over. The sustainability of their businesses in the reputation economy is at stake.” The Deloitte Australia and New Zealand Bribery and Corruption Report 2020

Deloitte has recently published its biennial Australasian bribery and corruption survey. This year’s survey covered 159 organisations, 24% of which were public sector, 67% private and 9% not for profit. 40% of the respondents were New Zealand organisations.

Whilst there isn’t a focus on survey-to-survey changes, the survey summary reports a significant shift in the detection of fraud. 35% of respondents had suffered a bribery or corruption incident in the past five years (compared to 20% in 2017), and 17% of these occurred within the last 12 months.

Whilst two thirds of the survey’s respondents had not any detected corruption, the same number perceived their organisations to be at risk of bribery and corruption. Of those that did not, most were in the private sector, and their organisations had neither detected a known incident nor completed a risk assessment. The indicates vulnerability in these sectors, which is reflected in SFO prosecutions and highlighted in our National Integrity System Assessment report.

The focus of this year’s Deloitte survey is on planning and prevention. The report found that leading organisations are increasingly focussed on culture, technology and data to prevent incidents of bribery or corruption and avoid their negative impact.

It is clear that many others have much work to do. A handful of Australasian organisations are in real danger. One in 20 respondents say their leadership does not endorse a no-tolerance approach, and 11% note that their organisations do not convey a position on bribery and corruption to staff.

More than half of all survey respondents had not conducted a bribery and corruption risk assessment Competing priorities is the most common reason given for not doing so.

Undeclared conflicts of interest is the top corruption concern raised by the reports respondents

Tip-offs continue to be the main mechanism for discovering bribery and corruption., however detection via management review, financial review and direct reports to managers combined outweighed tip-offs. This might infer greater vigilance and engagement, and even a greater willingness to challenge bribery and corruption.

As in previous surveys, respondents once again saw internal culture as the key to tackling bribery and corruption. Effective internal cultures tend to include a strong leadership commitment, expressed primarily through training programmes, corporate communications, contracts and policy.

TINZ Team

TINZ engages New Zealand and New Zealanders in a broad range of issues related to building stronger integrity systems to mitigate the impact of bribery and corruption. TINZ Directors, Members with Delegated Authority and staff provide subject matter expertise in the topic areas of interest.

TINZ Subject Matter Experts, current at the time of this newsletter publication, can be can be found at TINZ Team April 2020. To view by topic, visit the category page which lists TINZ topics and respective current subject matter experts.