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U4 Practitioner Experience Note

Twenty years with anti-corruption. Part 9

The UK’s changing anti-corruption landscape – new energy, new horizons

Between 2013 and 2018, the UK made unusually rapid progress in improving instruments to address corruption. These advances included legal reforms, such as establishing beneficial ownership registers, Deferred Prosecution Agreements, and unexplained wealth orders. They also involved more collaborative ways of working, such as novel public–private partnerships, and new administrative and oversight structures at the heart of government. It is now critical to maintain the impetus behind this more proactive and determined approach.

4 August 2020
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Twenty years with anti-corruption. Part 9

Main points

  • The UK saw a marked acceleration in the pace of anti-corruption reform after 2013. This was due almost entirely to the strong political leadership that suddenly appeared.
  • The ability of administrators to seize such windows of opportunity is crucial. There are similar opportunities for non-governmental organisation (NGO) advocates of reform, provided they are well prepared in advance.
  • The more aggressive approach towards corruption will take time to show effect. Eternal vigilance is still needed to keep up the momentum.

Cite this publication

Mason OBE, P.; (2020) Twenty years with anti-corruption. Part 9. Bergen: U4 Anti-Corruption Resource Centre, Chr. Michelsen Institute (U4 Practitioner Experience Note 2020:9)

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About the author

Phil Mason OBE

Phil Mason OBE was senior anti-corruption adviser in DFID from 2000 until March 2019. He formally retired from the UK public service after 35 years, 31 of which were with ODA/DFID. He continues in the anti-corruption field in an independent capacity.


All views in this text are the author(s)’, and may differ from the U4 partner agencies’ policies.

This work is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International licence (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)


Photo: Leitch