Audit Office: Public sector integrity grown in past five years

The integrity risks of public offices in Hungary fell compared to 2012, a survey of the Hungarian Audit Office (ASZ) shows.

The survey, conducted for the seventh time in 2017, assesses the corruption risk factors in the public sector, and how robust anti-corruption controls are in public institutions. This year, a record 3,346 organisations submitted data, the survey said. The survey focused on the areas most vulnerable to graft: public services, public authority, public procurements and the employment of experts.

Although public services are typically vulnerable to corruption, the overall use of receipts of goods and payments reduces that risk substantially, the survey said. However, only a quarter of organisations have directives regulating the acceptance of presents, invitations and travels, the survey said, and only a third have a procedure to handle complaints. At organisations with public authority, procedures based on individual considerations and fairness procedures contain a particular risk, the survey said.

Regarding risk factors and built-in control mechanisms, government offices and organisations rank high on corruption risks and their level of built-in controls is also higher than average, ASZ said. Local authorities have a higher-than-average risk level with relatively low control levels, and organisations of the judiciary have strong controls despite lower risk factors, it said.

Public procurements are an extremely sensitive area, the survey said. The organisations participating in it accepted offers for around 22,000 tenders in the past 3 years, the survey said. Fully 83 percent of the public procurements reviewed contained offers from three or more tenderers, a factor know to strengthen competition, ASZ said.

The employment of outside experts is widespread in public organisations, with little regulation and awareness of the risks involved, ASZ warned. Experts’ employment is only duly regulated in law enforcement and military institutions, it said.

Source: MTI



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