Anti-Corruption Champion Sir Eric Pickles is attending the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Summit in Paris this week, involving over 3,000 representatives from 70 countries, civil society, the tech community, researchers and journalists in a commitment to open government, and its benefits to prosperity and good governance.
On a two-day visit to the summit, Sir Eric will join a high-level panel to discuss how we use the UK’s Criminal Finances Bill and forthcoming Anti-Corruption Strategy to build on the success of the landmark Anti-Corruption Summit in London earlier this year.
He will also underline the government’s determination to make the UK a hostile place for economic crime, tax avoidance, corporate irresponsibility and illicit money in order to restore greater fairness, and build an economy that truly works for everyone.
On Thursday, he will launch the Contracting 5 (‘C5’) Partnership between the UK, Mexico, Colombia, France and Ukraine – together covering over $1 trillion in public spending – to make public contracting more open around the world. The launch coincides with the successful implementation of the Open Contracting Data Standards for public contracts online, and a trial in major infrastructure projects starting with HS2.
On Friday, to mark International Anti-Corruption Day, Sir Eric will join an event on beneficial ownership transparency and the transformative effects it has in exposing corruption. He will outline the UK’s world leading approach, including through its public register of ‘persons of significant control’, a first for a G20 country.
At the summit he will remind delegates that we can never be complacent; we need to pursue vigorously all those who abuse our financial system and property market for criminal means. That is why the government is committed to being the first country in the world to establish a public register of company beneficial ownership information for foreign companies who own or buy property in the UK, or who bid on government contracts.
The Prime Minister’s Anti-Corruption Champion, Sir Eric Pickles, said:
The last 6 years has seen the UK do more than any country in the world to fight corruption, white collar crime and tax evasion – we have a world class Bribery Act; we are the first G20 country to establish a public register of beneficial ownership; the first G7 country to undergo an IMF fiscal transparency evaluation; and earlier this year we hosted the world’s first leaders’ summit to galvanise a truly global response.
But the Panama papers showed the scale of the problem we face, which is why we have taken swift action with partners from North America, Europe and Asia Pacific to establish an International Anti-Corruption Coordination Centre by April 2017, to pursue the corrupt across borders. The Criminal Finances Bill represents the next significant step in our response to economic crime, our ability to recover stolen assets, and sends a clear signal that dirty money has nowhere to hide in the UK.
Minister for the Cabinet Office, Ben Gummer, said:
This government is committed to being the most transparent government in the world, driving more efficient policy-making and allowing citizens to hold their public services to account.
That is why we are leading the charge to open government contracts to public scrutiny from beginning to end. This will reduce fraud and corruption, create more business opportunities for small and medium sized businesses, and inspire greater innovation in the delivery of our public services.