This Anti-Corruption Helpdesk brief was produced in response to a query from a U4 Partner Agency. The U4 Helpdesk is operated by Transparency International in collaboration with the U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre based at the Chr. Michelsen Institute.
Could you provide an overview of integrity agreements and any benchmarking work done on these agreements. Please provide (i) examples of integrity agreements used by other donors for consultants, advisors also for the private sector and (ii) an overview of their layout.
We are in the process of renewing our integrity agreements with direct contracting consultants and advisors for short and long term consultancies and we would like to comply with international standards and best practices.
1. Overview of ethical issues faced by consultants and advisors
2. Examples of integrity agreements for consultants and advisors
There is very little material publicly available on such contractual arrangements. Answering this query would require getting access to the various agencies’ internal documents, which goes beyond the scope of Helpdesk services. The present answer has been based on the professional approaches of consulting bodies towards ethical issues, also on the few publicly accessible examples of integrity agreements and finally on the best practice checklist for the management of work consultancies developed by the Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
Because of the sensitive nature of their work, consultants and advisors may encounter a wide range of ethical dilemmas in the course of their services to their clients, including issues related to professional standards and performance, confidentiality of information, independence and conflicts of interest.
These dilemmas are addressed in the consulting sector with codes of professional conduct that are meant to protect the integrity of the profession. On the client side, ethics clauses or integrity agreements addressing such integrity dilemmas for consultants and advisors can be integrated in the consultancy contracts. While very little information is publicly available from donor agencies on this topic area, examples from organisations such as the Hong Kong ICAC, the EU, the US congress and professional consulting bodies themselves are available and provide a sample of the ethical issues consultant can face. Ethical commitment clauses to be included in the consultancy agreements typically cover issues of confidentiality of information, prevention of bribery, declaration of interest and a declaration of ethical commitment. For example, the Hong Kong ICAC recommends practices on how to minimise risks of corruption at all stages of the process of selecting, awarding and monitoring consultancy agreements.
AuthorsMarie Chêne, Transparency International, firstname.lastname@example.org