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Focusing efforts and blurring lines: the OECD’s shift from ethics to integrity
First lines:Since corruption became established as a global public problem, the attention of academics as well as NGO experts and officials from international organisations has moved from exploring “why it is a problem” to debating “what works and what does not” in combating it. Faced with the seeming failure of anti-corruption policies and consistently high levels of public distrust, many players in the field have reassessed their approach. In the mid-2010s, the OECD considered it “timely” to update its approach to preventing corruption, leading to its new 2017 Recommendation on Public Integrity, replacing the 1998 OECD Recommendation on Improving Ethical Conduct in the Public Service. The OECD’s move from ethics to integrity is not radical, as many elements of the new recommendation were implicit in its existing work on ethics. It does, however, reflect a shift, introducing the individual into the equation, and marks the organisation’s ambition to move outside its comfort zone and engage new audiences in its “whole-of-society” approach. This blog presents the main dimensions of this transition to integrity and suggests some elements to elucidate the shift.