Transparency International (TI) is an international, nongovernmental, non-partisan and non-profit organization dedicated to combating corruption at the national and international level. Since its founding in 1993, TI has been widely recognized for placing the fight against corruption on the global agenda. The challenge of keeping the fight against corruption as a top priority is one of the main messages of our movement.
TI is committed to build broad coalitions of individuals and organizations and to work with them in reducing corruption and introduce reforms. Instead of naming and shaming individuals, governments and companies, TI approaches the fight against corruption by building and strengthening integrity systems on the national and international level.
Internationally, the TI movement’s main objective is to infuse the global system with values that recognizetransparency and accountability. The International Secretariat is working with the private sector and international organizations, such as the OECD, to strengthen the legal and political framework of international business. With the International Secretariat shaping the international agenda, more than 80 national chapters worldwide lead the TI movement at grassroots level.
TI national chapters are dedicated to create awareness about the harm caused by bribery and corruption, and to help identifying and constructing methods to reform the legal systems through national politicians. Through coalition building, TI brings together relevant actors from government, private sector, academia, professional associations, media, and various civil society organizations.
Apart from the staff at the national chapters, TI employs around 40 people at the offices of the International Secretariat in Berlin and London . Besides, TI enjoys and greatly values the support of experts volunteering their time, expertise, and professional contacts.
Instead of providing technical assistance in the traditional way, TI has chosen to play the role of catalyst, always looking for ways in which other, more specialized organizations, become active in the fight against corruption. By working in collaboration with other organizations, TI has been more effective in carrying out our mission.
Transparency International Spain, Spanish chapter of TI, has taken in addition to the general objectives of TI, the commitment and the specific objectives of promoting transparency in the different types of Spanish public institutions, assessing the level of openness and transparency of information these institutions to society and citizens.
In this sense, TI-Spain has developed and published (free of charge, and without any funding from any organization or public entity), the following Indexes: a) Index of Transparency of the Municipalities (ITA). b) Index of Transparency of the Autonomous Communities (INCAU). c) Index of Transparency of Water Management (INTRAG). d) Index of Transparency of Councils (INDIP).
TI believes that civil society organizations should create momentum and take leadership in the global fight against corruption. National governments do not have the global reach to lead this struggle alone, and for international organizations it is difficult to gather political will in order to act effectively. Besides, let us not forget that sometimes governments and the private sector are part of the problem of corruption.
TI’s focus has been to engage major organizations, both in the private and public sector, to address the issue of corruption. This has resulted in new international agreements, changes in legislation, better regulation and new policies to prevent corrupt practices. TI also encourages civil society organizations that focus on other areas to integrate the issue of corruption into their agendas. This way, the TI movement associates with major civil society organizations in the field of human rights, education and the environment.
Much of TI’s effort is directed towards developing and facilitating a meaningful role for civil society (including TI’s national chapters) within proposed reforms. However, in order to achieve success, each organization should build its own structure and improve its own abilities.
To strengthen the participation of civil society in anticorruption efforts, TI has a training program, which includes funds for training, ‘seed money’ and the availability of professional assistance. TI has established the Partnership for Transparency Fund (PTF) to help civil society to support the participation of experts in the design and implementation of anticorruption programs. The fundamental premise for establishing the PTF is that civil society can be more effective in its role without depending on contributions from governments or other donor agencies.
TI was established as a non-profit organization under German law and is governed by a Board composed of twelve members. The Chairman of the Board and two vice presidents form the executive branch. The Chairman of the Board acts as the chief executive of the international movement and has the ultimate responsibility to articulate TI’s mission. The main tasks of the Board include advice on the organization’s strategic direction, approval of the annual budget, and appointment of the Managing Director of TI. In addition, the Board decides on the accreditation of national chapters of TI. The Board members hold office for a period of three years with the possibility to renew.
Each of the national chapters of TI is a legally autonomous organization, elects its own Board of Directors and also appoints one member to represent the chapter in the Annual General Meeting. The national chapters around the world, along with some life trustees of TI, form the core of TI’s governance structure. They meet once per year for the Annual General Meeting in which the Board is being elected. Besides, the meeting is also convened in order to approve the annual report and to ratify any changes to the statutes of the organization.
An Advisory Council consisting of 40 prominent individuals provides the organization with expertise and a high-level network. The Board can invite any member of the Advisory Board to join the organization.
On the national level, the mission of TI is voiced by the national chapters, representing the core of the international movement. These NGOs are registered locally and are legally independent of the International Secretariat.
There are national chapters of TI in each continent and they find themselves in various stages of development. The majority focuses on strengthening the “National Integrity Systems” (NIS) in their countries. The concept NIS is coined by TI and refers to a holistic approach to transparency and accountability, and covers a range of tools, institutions, laws and policies in order to prevent or control corruption. These tools and institutions include democratic legislative bodies, independent legal systems, anti-corruption agencies, NGOs, media, civil society and businesses.
While most of national chapters are created as new (the case of Transparency International Spain) others are formed from existing NGOs. This has allowed these chapters to benefit from the administrative structures, personnel, and the experience of established NGOs.
All national chapters go through an accreditation process and must comply with TI’s principles. i.e. being non-partisan as well as refraining from investigating individual corruption cases. Besides, national chapters must subscribe to coalition building with government, private sector and civil society. National chapters enjoy considerable autonomy in determining their own agendas and plans of action.
The fight against corruption has become a priority of many important government reforms, and extensive research on the topic has been done in both the public and the private sector. With the growing number of stakeholders and anti-corruption initiatives, TI has had to carefully prioritise in order to maintain a leadership position and increase the effectiveness of our national and international activities. TI has identified key priorities in each of the developed programmes.
In any case, each National chapter chooses and adopts independently new lines of priority or special interest that contribute to combating corruption and generate a higher level of social transparency. This is the case of TI-Spain with the development and publication of the four above mentioned transparency Index: a) Index of Transparency of the Municipalities (ITA). b) Index of Transparency of the Autonomous Communities (INCAU). c) Index of Transparency of Water Management (INTRAG). d) Index of Transparency of Councils (INDIP).
In addition, TI-Spain has launched a new line of action in relation to the private sector, having developed and published the “Principles of transparency and corruption prevention for companies” to provide policy guidance to companies help them develop a career and activities with an appropriate level of transparency and social responsibility, and reduce corruption risks.
There is urgent need to raise awareness among the population about the extent of the problem and the need for action against corruption. Our message must reach further and should be adapted to specific audiences, convincing them of the impact of corruption in different sectors. TI is well aware that there are important issues that may disappear from the agenda before they have found effective and sustainable solutions. Therefore, TI is committed to monitor corruption trends in order to always keep the topic on the global agenda.
The International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) plays an important role both in the deepening of knowledge about corruption, and promoting constructive dialogue on a wide range of related topics. Besides raising awareness TI also advocates the implementation of multilateral agreements such as the OECD Convention on Combating Bribery of Foreign Public Officials in International Business Transactions as well as policy reforms and institutional initiatives directed towards corruption on the national and international level.
TI promotes the use of strategies defined in specific sectors. One is the Integrity Pact, which refers to a contractual agreement not to bribe parties involved in bidding processes, privatization and public procurement procedures. TI has also advocated other sectorial initiatives such as the development of guidelines for private banks against money laundering and creating a standard of integrity for private companies.
TI´s work involves a comprehensive evaluation of corruption trends and the administering of successes and failures in combating this. These activities include the world-renowned Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), the Bribe Payers Index (BPI) and various surveys and studies on countries. In addition, TI and national chapters are involved in various activities of monitoring and evaluating the performance of political agreements or international conventions. TI national chapters also assess the transparency of certain government processes such as procurement, privatization and electoral financing.
For TI-Spain, moreover, are made the aforementioned four Indexes of Transparency of various public institutions: Municipalities, Autonomous regions, Water management agencies and Provincial Councils.
In order to provide a knowledge base for anti-corruption reforms, TI focuses on identifying and disseminating best practices and tools to curb corruption, including model laws, regulations and institutional frameworks. The TI Source Book, the flagship publication of the organization, has been revised, expanded and guides policy makers through a comprehensive model of good governance and accountability. The publication has been translated into over 20 languages and adapted to a variety of cultural and legal contexts.
TI´s website plays an important role in the dissemination of good practices and provides easy access to information. The Corruption Online Research Information System (CORIS) is an online database of TI that provides national chapters, activists working on anti-corruption, researchers, and anyone interested in the topic, easy access to literature, documentation, and information about corruption and related issues.
The growing volume of knowledge on anti-corruption work should be available to both inspire anti-corruption initiatives and to support them technically. To this end, TI is in the process of developing a source of best practices. The “Toolkit for Citizen Control of Corruption” describes specific experiences and successful activities in the fight against corruption.
The new annual Global Corruption Report (GCR Global Corruption Report), first published in late 2001, is intended to give the global community an important tool to influence and raise awareness. The report includes articles on key issues relating corruption, summaries of international and regional trends, and evidence that offers new insights on preventing corruption.
The activities and programs of the International Secretariat are funded by development agencies, foundations and the private sector. TI Chapters do not pay membership fees to the International Secretariat or receive funds from it for their activities. An exception is made for emerging Chapters in order to facilitate their initial activities.
The Chapters are encouraged to seek their own resources which contributes to the autonomy and sustainability of the Chapters in the long term.
For Transparency International Spain, and since its main activities are aimed at assessing public institutions, nor envisage or accept the potential contribution, grant or assistance of any kind that could be from an institution or agency, being developing and totally free online publication of all matters relating to these indices of transparency.
Funding of TI-Spain comes from the European Union, the International Secretariat of TI, and private Foundations and companies who share with TI-Spain its objectives of transparency and anti-corruption (see elsewhere in this web entities sponsor Chairs and collaborating with this organization). In any case, many of the activities of TI-Spain is carried out through the collaboration of volunteers who carry out their duties in a selfless and free.
The International Secretariat
The main role of the International Secretariat is implementing the international agenda and strengthening the organization’s National Chapters in implementing their own national agendas.
The Secretariat develops tools for advocacy, works as a communications hub for the movement, and continuously processes and disseminates information. Parallel to the Secretariat and National Chapters, a group of expert volunteers closely collaborates with the Secretariat in Berlin . TI´s office in London focuses primarily on the collection and dissemination of knowledge on the subject of corruption and gathers best practices on the subject. The International Secretariat is headed by the Director General. Four directors and executive officers are responsible for specific geographic areas. The Executive Director based in London is responsible for activities related to knowledge and information management and works as chief financial officer.
The TI Program Officers encourage the participation of the organization in their assigned countries, establish contact with potential partners and support National Chapters. In addition they coordinate the group of volunteer experts (professionals from many countries that offer their services) that provide international expertise to Chapters and maintain contact with relevant funding agencies. Under the supervision of the Executive Directors, they work with National Chapters on specific thematic activities such as monitoring of international conventions, private sector initiatives, and survey projects.
Further the International Secretariat manages basic tasks such as training of National Chapters and general administration. A team headed by an Executive Director of the Finance Department oversees and coordinates fundraising. Another team is dedicated to public relations and is responsible for the development and implementation of the global public relations strategy of the Movement. The team of Knowledge and Information Services is in the process of developing and maintaining the web portal CORIS.