Corruption in Finland must be monitored through an extensive risk assessment

Publication date 16.12.2020 19.34
News item

A comprehensive approach and data collection model are needed for the monitoring of corruption. This is stated in the final report of the KORSI (Corruption monitoring indicators in Finland) research project, coordinated by the Police University College. The project explored suitable methods and indicators for the monitoring of corruption in Finland.

The final report suggests that Finland could boldly follow the example of countries where corruption is more common than ours in the monitoring of corruption. In Lithuania, for example, an annual risk assessment is carried out to monitor corruption diversely in different sectors of society. Specific risk areas are selected for closer examination. The Czech Republic, on the other hand, applies methods for screening the widespread and transparent information on public procurement for alarming indications of corruption.

Researchers in the KORSI project suggest that, in the future, a national corruption review based on a wide range of methods and sources should be carried out in Finland. Amongst other things, the review could include openly available statistics, information on surveys, registers and interview surveys, risk assessments from different administrative sectors, and information on companies and the third sector. The production of the review would be coordinated by the Ministry of Justice.

Multi-dimensional nature of corruption makes measuring more difficult

Finnish corruption is typically linked to different structures and networks. This makes it difficult to detect corruption and poses challenges for measuring the phenomenon and its features. The KORSI project focused on forms of corruption that are difficult to measure, such as various forms of unethical decision-making and influencing.

The project compiled a wide range of survey indicators from open sources that can be used for a quantitative analysis of corruption in the future. Some questions related to corruption were tested in the Police Barometer population survey. The findings suggest that six per cent of Finns aged 15–79 (257,000 people) fully agree that “corruption is a major problem in Finland”. As the most problematic areas of corruption, the respondents listed cronyism and its networks, election and party funding, land use and construction, as well as favouritism in the selection of people for official positions.

The construction sector, corruption in sports and competitive bidding were considered separately in the project. In the construction sector, indications of corruption could be tracked more effectively through information on contracts and tendering, if documents related to public procurement were as public as possible. In the area of competition manipulation, information on athletes’ employment relationships and wages, game behaviour, and various types of violations may provide an indication of corruption. Other areas of society could learn lessons from the detailed risk assessment of the sector.

The KORSI project was implemented by the Police University College, the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control affiliated with the United Nations (HEUNI), Professor Emeritus Ari Salminen and the Finnish Center for Integrity in Sports (FINCIS). The publication has been completed as part of the implementation of the 2019 Government Plan for Analysis, Assessment and Research.

The reports of the Corruption monitoring indicators in Finland (KORSI) project can be read in the Government publication series (abstracts in English).