Patricia Scotland calls for Commonwealth-wide anti-corruption unit

By on 18/04/2016
Baroness Patricia Scotland became Commonwealth secretary-general earlier this month

The new head of the Commonwealth, Baroness Patricia Scotland, has today called for the creation of a new unit working across the 53 nation group to fight corruption.

Scotland, who became Commonwealth secretary-general earlier this month, said in a speech today that “collaboration and cooperation between different nation states will be critical if we are to successfully meet the challenge bribery and corruption creates for us all.”

As a mechanism to facilitate that collaboration, she proposes the creation of a Commonwealth Office of Civil and Criminal Justice Reform, through which member states would be able to “craft the templates for legislation and best practice implementation to strengthen public safety and provide an excellent framework for legal support services throughout the Commonwealth.”

These templates, Scotland, who was UK attorney-general between 2007 and 2010, said, “will strengthen public safety and services throughout the Commonwealth.”

Addressing senior judges and Commonwealth high commissioners, at Inner Temple in London today, Scotland said member states should “develop a kitemark or yardstick against corruption” which should be used to identify which bodies, institutions, and entities are adhering to best practice and eventually create international  standards for compliance of good procurement practice.

She added that the standards “can be used by anyone” and “will help strengthen oversight of finances for businesses, institutions, the public sector, local government and the private sector.”

Creating best practice toolkits, she said, “empowers our member governments to be on the front foot against corruption and fraud in their jurisdictions.”

Scotland  is the sixth secretary-general of the Commonwealth and the first ever woman to be appointed into the role.

She was the first black woman to be a QC [a senior barrister appointed on the recommendation of the Lord Chancellor] and the only woman to be attorney-general since the post was created in 1315.

Before being appointed attorney-general, she held various ministerial roles under the Labour government including  minister of state for criminal justice and offender management from 2003 to 2007.

Scotland, who was born in a small village on the Caribbean island of Dominica, to a Dominican mother and Antiguan father and brought up in north-east London, describes herself as a “classic child of the Commonwealth.”

For up to date government news and international best practice follow us on Twitter @globegov

See also:

In pictures: Patricia Scotland is welcomed as new Commonwealth secretary-general

India’s banking scheme draws in 200m new customers

Patricia Scotland sets out priorities in new role as Commonwealth chief

How to get things done in government: the art of delivery

Looking after number one: prioritisation in government

About Winnie Agbonlahor

Winnie is news editor of Global Government Forum. She previously reported for Civil Service World - the trade magazine for senior UK government officials. Originally from Germany, Winnie first came to the UK in 2006 to study a BA in Journalism & Russian at the University of Sheffield. She is bilingual in English and German, and, after spending an academic year abroad in Russia and reporting for the Moscow Times, Winnie also speaks Russian fluently.

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *