A new survey from the Chartered Institute of Building has suggested that many construction professionals feel that corruption is commonplace in the industry, with many being offered bribes or incentives during their time.
The survey used a sample of 700 construction professionals and aimed to investigate whether corruption is considered to be a problem in the UK, exactly what practices were considered "corrupt" and which areas were particularly susceptible to them. The sample included over 300 senior managers and directors, with more than one in three (35%) admitted to have being offered a bribe or incentive on at least one occasion. Nearly 38% had come across cartel activity at least once and of those, 29% have witnessed it within the last 12 months.
They placed the blame on squeezed tender margins and reduced workloads, which were resulting in pressuring professionals into corrupt practices in order to stay afloat.
The rest of the main statistics from the survey have been listed below:
- 49% of respondents believe corruption is common within the UK construction industry, just 2% fewer than the first survey published in 2006.
- Cultural (27%) and economic (23%) are cited as the main reasons for corruption.
- Cover pricing is seen to not be corrupt by 20% of respondents. Although, predominantly other adverse practices linked to the construction industry are seen to be corrupt (billing for unperformed work, collusion and cartel activity).
- 67% indicate that the use of gifts and corporate hospitality can be treated as bribery.
- 43% suggest that all the stages of the ‘construction process’ are susceptible to corruption. 35% specify that the pre-qualification and tendering phase is the most at risk.
- Over a third said they have encountered cartel activity in the UK construction industry. Of those, 29% said it was in the last 12 months.
- 35% of respondents have been offered a bribe or incentive on at least one occasion.
- 40% do not know if their company has a whistle-blowing policy. 54% indicated that they are aware and only 7% said that they have used it.
- Respondents acknowledge that the UK construction industry (50%) and the UK Government (55%) are not doing enough to prevent and tackle corruption.
Graham Hand, Coordinator of the UK Anti-Corruption Forum, said "This valuable report shows that despite the introduction of a tough new Bribery Act in 2010, corruption is still common in the construction business in this country.
"That is unacceptable. The law enforcement agencies need to work with the professional and business organisations to educate companies about their responsibilities, and they must act against companies that break the law."
CIOB Deputy Chief Executive Michael Brown added that measures such as the Bribery Act had a limited effect, with no prosecutions against businesses taking place. "If the UK is going to live up to its rhetoric of being tough on corruption, both the Government and industry must do more to show proof of progress," he remarked.
Via Construction Enquirer