Authors: Rittger, Elena and Wunderlich, Malin
Corruption is a problem that affects the private and public sectors alike. Many companies are aware of the added value of high integrity standards for their business, but do not know how to implement an effective compliance management system. This is where TheIntegrityApp comes in, a digital tool developed by the Alliance for Integrity and its partners for the self-assessment of compliance programmes.
Major corruption scandals in the private sector over the last years have shown that corruption is far from a problem that only involves the public sector. It is instead a problem that involves all sectors of society and the economy, including small and large companies alike. Consequently, this means that the private sector has a crucial role to play in the fight against corruption.
However, compliance and transparency are not just about saving the world from corruption. Compliance is a key element for business development.
Companies with high integrity standards tend to have better financial performance than others, demonstrating the link between good ethical practices and market needs.
Compliance has several advantages for companies with positive effects on
Many people tend to think that compliance is only for big companies, with many employees, high capital and a complex supply chain. However, this is a fallacious misconception. Especially for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), business integrity is not a choice, but a matter of business survival and a prerequisite for growth: a strong compliance programme can be the convincing argument for various business opportunities, such as doing business with governments or multinational companies.
Many companies face the dilemma that while they understand the value of integrity for their business, they do not know how to develop or improve their compliance management system.
This is the point where TheIntegrityApp comes into play. TheIntegrityApp is a digital tool for the self-assessment of compliance programmes which was developed by the Alliance for Integrity together with its partners to give companies and governments a helping hand in overcoming corruption and uncertainty. By answering a practical and short questionnaire, users will receive a score between 0 and 100, reflecting the strengths of the company’s compliance efforts in relation to international standards and best practices.
Even if every question still has to be answered no at the beginning, this is no reason to bury one’s head in the sand: After the self-assessment, each company receives tailored access to resources such as podcasts, online seminars, publications and more, all designed to improve the company’s integrity standards. The self-assessment should be repeated after a few months to enable comparisons and visualise improvements.
TheIntegrityApp is aimed at companies of all sizes and offers various benefits:
For multinationals, the digital tool helps to train companies in the supply chain by providing a free assessment for business partners and informational material on how to improve or implement an effective compliance programme. In this way, it is possible to ensure high integrity standards along the entire supply chain and actively prevent reputational losses. Due to its availability in several languages (English, German, Portuguese, Spanish and Bahasa Indonesia) TheIntegrityApp can also be used by business partners in different regions across the globe.
For SMEs, TheIntegrityApp offers a free tool that provides access to easy-to-use and practical materials on compliance and integrity. By doing so, companies with a small budget can set up a comprehensive compliance management system and track their progress.
In order to continuously improve and develop TheIntegrityApp, the Alliance for Integrity has joined forces with its partners. Together with the Business Scouts for Development, the initiative has been working on a French language version which will be launched during the Global Conference of the Alliance for Integrity end of April 2021. The French version is aimed specifically at companies in Francophone Africa and is intended to make an important contribution to creating a sustainable business environment in the region.
In addition, the Sounding Board of TheIntegrityApp, consisting of the Alliance for Integrity and partners from the private and public sectors as well as civil society, is currently supporting with its expertise the development of a new risk assessment feature. The new function is based on different situations in which a company may face corruption. The risk assessment tool will be able to measure whether the company is exposed to these risk factors and what internal measures need to be implemented to mitigate them. At the end of the assessment, users will receive a heat map and further information on how to efficiently address the identified risks.
The added value for the private sector is clearly expressed by over 1,500 users from 15 different countries. However, to achieve systemic change, the public sector must be involved in anti-corruption efforts as well. Thus, the Alliance for Integrity and its partners have adapted TheIntegrityApp for use in the public sector with almost 4,000 users.
In Colombia, the digital tool is part of the Government’s strategic approach to strengthen business integrity. It allows Colombian companies that signed an integrity pact to self-assess their compliance capacities and to further improve by making use of tailored content delivered through the app. The Alliance for Integrity sends a biweekly report on the status quo to the government.
In Brazil, the Alliance for Integrity and the General Comptroller of the Union Brazil (CGU) jointly developed a version of TheIntegrityApp for the public sector. Changes include a self-assessment tailored to the specific needs of the public sector and a set of targeted tools and resources. Public servants in Brazil can anonymously use the app to self-assess their knowledge of compliance and evaluate the compliance capacities of superiors and their organisations. The Government receives an overview of the level of compliance capacities of participating government institutions.
In Brazil and Colombia, the data provides a structured overview that enables the governments to use limited resources where they have the greatest impact. All data is aggregated and anonymised.