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.
What does the evidence tell us about what works in different contexts when working with parliaments to tackle corruption?
- The role of parliaments in curbing corruption
- What works in engaging with parliaments in different contexts
Evidence of what works when engaging with parliaments is very scarce, due to very limited efforts to systematically assess the impact of parliamentary development initiatives. More research would be needed to address this knowledge gap. As a result, this Helpdesk answer provides an overview of the role of parliament in curbing corruption and of donors’ approaches to support this role, drawing lessons from existing literature.
As part of their legislative, oversight and representation functions, parliaments have a key role to play in the fight against corruption, as the institution holding government accountable to citizens. As they represent the people, MPs also need to be exemplary in performing their duties, to embody the ethical values of their community, and to adhere to the highest standards of integrity. Many actors are involved in parliamentary strengthening programmes, which typically involve support for institutional reform and development, skill transfer and capacity building, human support services and support to peer networks of parliamentarians. While there is a growing interest in strengthening parliaments across the world, there have been very few systematic efforts to conduct impact evaluations of parliamentary support, making it difficult to draw lessons on what works when engaging with parliament in which context and why. One of the most important lessons that emerges from the literature is that, due to their inherently political nature, parliament strengthening interventions need to be neutral, country specific, based on a solid understanding of the political economy and informed by local needs assessments.
Marie Chêne, Transparency International, [email protected]