• Governance I Risk I Compliance Management

Bribery and corruption are often recognised only AFTER it occurs, generally when the media uncover the handled bribe or when a whistleblower reports the money laundering scheme. To combat corrupt actions, organisations worldwide follow national and global regulations that aim to introduce effective anti-fraud and risk management schemes – which is great – but more often than not, they fail to put it into practice. Education about risks, including bribery, and recognising and reporting it in such situations is key.

You probably have heard of the ISO’s anti-bribery standard ISO 37001, which was published in 2016. Organisations from then started looking into certifying their businesses against the standard to prove they have taken adequate anti-bribery anti-corruption procedures (that actually is the law in certain countries, in Malaysia for instance, where is a requirement to comply with the Section of 17A of the MACC Act – more on that here).

In line with your commitment to building a transparent business, educating your employees about compliance and the above-discussed risks will also give you good results. The ISO 37001 Awareness training proves to be a proactive way of demonstrating your organisation’s commitment to ethical sustainability. Achieving this introductory course will help participants to recognise any form of Corruption and report it easily. Such education is crucial to prove your commitment to building a compliant, transparent and ethical business. However, we recognise that awareness of bribery and corruption risks should be introduced in earlier stages of an individual’s professional journey and must be rooted in society in the form of education.

Corruption in education

While Corruption, in general, has received a great deal of attention from the media and researchers in the past decades, Corruption in education is underresearched. However, UNODC reports that “Corruption in education replaces good values and morals with a cynical view of the world when young and highly impressionable students learn that fighting Corruption does not pay off – but siding with it might. Corruption has “disastrous consequences” when it interferes with the “development of attitudes and values related to citizenship and justice” (Poisson, 2010, p. 11). If citizens do not trust the education system to be fair and impartial, then all senior positions, whether in business, science or politics, are perceived to have been gained through privilege rather than achievement. This erodes the credibility of and trust in educational institutions, creates frustration and disengagement, and damages aspirations and social cohesion that are necessary for all successful societies”.

Based on World Academy, “Corruption in education is mostly related to the countries in transition and the developing parts of the world. However, in many developed countries, Corruption is also endemic within education. Namely, Corruption entered this area and seriously endangered schools and universities. Corruption in the education sector can be defined as “the systematic use of public office for private benefit, whose impact is significant on the availability and quality of educational goods and services, and, has an impact on access, quality or equity in education” (Hallak and Poisson, 2002)”.

Now when educational institutions have become more profit-oriented, universities’ need to establish proven and adequate tools to prevent bribery and Corruption is even more vital. So what can educational institutions do to stop Corruption in education and promote transparency?

5 ways universities can support anti-bribery anti-corruption

Based on Weforum, “universities can play a major role in fighting corruption, both in their capacity as institutions of higher education that touch the lives of future leaders and as large organisations with substantial economic footprints”. Read below or watch the video of the following 5 tips on what education institutions should do to promote transparency.

1. Governance: embrace anti-corruption initiatives

The first way of implementing anti-corruption initiatives is “ensuring competitive procurement of school resources, opposing nepotism in the hiring of teachers and preventing the skewing of research results for personal gain. In this way, universities can increase the efficiency of their operations by improving outcomes and cutting unnecessary costs”. It’s been recognised that corruption scandals possess a high risk of reputational damage to the parties involved, so openly communicating your stance against corruption will help to promote a transparent and ethical university positioning amongst others.

2. Education: mainstream ethics courses

In addition to setting the tone at the top, as part of universities’ social function to equip students with tools and best practices to make them successful professionals, universities should commit to teaching professional ethics across curricula. Ethics education will result in reduced selfish behaviour among students and their inclination to cheat.

Universities should also establish ethics and compliance hotlines available to all associated parties to report any unethical and/or illegal behaviour.

3. Anti-corruption training

Universities should implement specific programs to “teach students how to recognise and resist corruption, and more generally to assert their personal values in the workplace”. The online course of ISO 37001 Awareness is an excellent choice to introduce your students to internationally recognised best anti-bribery anti-corruption practices. This type of training will not only help students to recognise such issues and support the university’s stance against corruption but will also set a good foundation for their business ethics.

Check out ISO 37001 Training Courses
Rolls Royce Case Study & Anti-bribery Anti-corruption Policies eBook

It is also a good idea to organise student workshops to explore the real-world case studies of multi-level multi-cultural bribery such as recent cases such as Rolls-Royce or Airbus. Interactive and engaging classes will help students to understand the issue in-depth and recognise the impact of unethical behaviour on organisational and societal level.

4. Promote the business case against corruption

“The so-called business case against corruption gives future managers and professionals better grounds on which to make informed decisions by exposing several relevant sources of risks and costs, which managers have every reason to avoid”, says Weforum.

5. Citizenship: support collective actions against corruption

Research shows that belonging to an industry network substantially reduces corruption. Engaging in international activities such as International Anti-Corruption Day every December is a great way to communicate your organisation’s commitment to transparency. “Universities should actively partner with other organisations to enforce broad anti-corruption initiatives. As the Nobel Prize recipient Elinor Ostrom has shown, bottom-up institutions of governance can emerge to successfully solve problems of collective action even when top-down governmental initiatives fail”.

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Anti-bribery and anti-corruption solution: ISO 37001 ABMS

Corruption and bribery affect any organisation, large or small, public or not-for-profit. It has the potential to cause severe harm to your business, including financial loss, dire legal consequences, damage to your brand, company’s reputation and sustainable development. Therefore anti-bribery needs to be managed correctly and effectively.

ISO 37001 certifies that your organisation has implemented reasonable and proportionate measures to prevent bribery. These measures involve top-level leadership, training, bribery risk assessment, due diligence adequacy, financial and commercial controls, reporting, audit, and investigation.

At ABAC®, we help all types of organisations to support them in the fight against bribery and corruption. Get in touch with us today for a free risk assessment! 

Prove that your organisation is ethical with a FREE Gap Analysis of Highest Ethical Business (worth USD 4500):

Prove that your business is ethical. Complete our FREE Highest Ethical Business Assessment (HEBA) and evaluate your current Corporate Compliance Program. Find out if your organisation’s compliance program is in the line with worldwide Compliance, Business Ethics, Anti-Bribery and Anti-Corruption Frameworks. Let ABAC® experts prepare a complimentary gap analysis of your compliance program to evaluate if it meets “adequate procedures” requirements under UK Bribery Act, DOJ’s Evaluation of Corporate Compliance Programs Guidance and Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission.

The HEBA survey is designed to evaluate your compliance with the adequate procedures to prevent bribery and corruption across the organisation. This survey is monitored and evaluated by qualified ABAC® professionals with Business Ethics, Legal and Compliance background. The questions are open-ended to encourage a qualitative analysis of your Compliance Program and to facilitate the gap analysis process.

The survey takes around 10 minutes to complete.


About ABAC® Center of Excellence

ABAC® Center of Excellence is an independent certification body powered by CRI Group. ABAC® offers a complete suite of services and solutions designed to educate, equip and support the world’s leading business organisations with the latest best-in-practice risk & performance assessments, systems improvement & standards certification. Find out more about ABAC®!

ABAC® programs protect your organisation from damaging litigation & safeguard your business in the global marketplace by providing certification & training in internationally recognised ISO standards, such as ISO 37001 Anti-Bribery Management SystemsISO 37301 Compliance Management Systems and ISO 31000 Risk Management Systems.

Based in London, CRI Group works with companies across the Americas, Europe, Africa, Middle East and Asia-Pacific as a one-stop international Risk ManagementEmployee Background ScreeningBusiness IntelligenceDue DiligenceCompliance Solutions and other professional Investigative Research solutions provider. We have the largest proprietary network of background-screening analysts and investigators across the Middle East and Asia. Our global presence ensures that no matter how international your operations are we have the network needed to provide you with all you need, wherever you happen to be. CRI Group also holds BS 102000:2013 and BS 7858:2012 Certifications, is an HRO certified provider and partner with Oracle. Contact CRI Group today for further information on how CRI Group can help your business.