NGOs lead the way on zero-tolerance to bribery

30th June 2011

Mango and Transparency International UK have led the development of new Anti-bribery Principles and Guidance for NGOs, published this week by Bond, the UK membership body for NGOs working in international development. These new Anti-bribery Principles and Guidance for NGOs will enable NGO staff to take the practical steps needed to follow a zero-tolerance approach to bribery. Mango and TI-UK co-chaired a working-group of NGOs that developed the principles which call on all NGOs to work together and take collective action to combat bribery. CFDG sat on this group along with several representatives from international NGOs.

Bribery and corruption are some of the biggest obstacles to reducing poverty and improving good governance. UK NGOs have therefore campaigned for and welcomed the new UK Bribery Act, which comes into force on 1 July 2011.

As well as seeking to combat bribery in the countries where they work, NGOs have to prevent bribery in their own operations. The reputational impact for an NGO that is linked to a bribery prosecution, or even just an investigation, could be very damaging. It may deter potential donors and may jeopardise the NGO’s ability to influence policy makers in the UK and overseas. In addition, public concern about the impact of bribery and corruption is a critical issue in building broad public support for aid and development.

Mango’s Director, Tim Boyes-Watson is running workshops for NGOs in Nairobi and London in coming weeks to encourage many NGOs to use and adapt these Principles and Guidance to their own needs. Tim comments “I am so proud to have been part of a group of NGOs willing to take a lead on preventing bribery. We have tried to explain how to implement a zero-tolerance approach in plain language and through sensible practical steps that can be introduced by any NGO, large or small. There is always a danger that new legislation creates a climate of worry and compliance, where trustees and organisations feel compelled to seek expensive and complex advice and put in place onerous, and therefore ineffective, policies and procedures. Instead Mango believes that the emphasis needs to be on ensuring staff have the skills and confidence to implement simple practical procedures which reflect the risks of bribery in each organisation and context. ”

Caron Bradshaw, CEO of CFDG said: “The real practical value of this guidance can be found in the fact that it is written for the sector, by the sector, with relevant expertise and knowledge being called on at all stages. We are delighted to have been part of this process and are pleased that NGOs now have a solid starting point for understanding both the context (legal or otherwise) and process involved in looking at preventing bribery. I know that our members will find this an essential read.”

Vanessa Mayham who is the Regional Finance and Systems Manager based in Kenya for Oxfam GB and who is one of Mango’s 400 Register members across the world said: “Many NGO’s already take bribery and corruption seriously and have policies and procedures in place to prevent, mitigate and investigate cases. For such organisations, the new Bribery Act will strengthen their position as it moves the rationale for action from a moral and efficiency perspective to a legal one. Potential benefits include:

  • Greater investment in the prevention of corruption
  • Heightened awareness of the issues due to the new legal implications, and
  • Improved compliance since expectations from donors will increase.”

Notes for Editors

1. Mango, the award-winning UK registered charity, founded in 1999, exists to help non-governmental organisations (NGOs) all around the world strengthen their financial management and accountability. During 2010, Mango trained 1,857 NGO staff on 138 courses in 37 countries around the globe. Our Recruitment Service placed 58 accountants with NGOs from our Register of 400 finance professionals across the world. Mango’s Consultancy Service supports NGOs with financial management advisers with many years of finance and NGO experience.

Ultimately this means that the NGOs that Mango supports get more for their money, achieve more, reduce poverty and save more lives.

Mango publishes free financial management tools and resources at www.mango.org.uk and takes a lead in tackling problems that undermine good financial management and accountability, like bribery and corruption.

Mango is widely respected as the leading specialist in its field and has worked with all the major international NGOs and many thousands of small local NGOs around the world.

For further information on Mango, visit www.mango.org.uk

Contact Tim Boyes-Watson on tbwatson@mango.org.uk or 07976 406682.


2. CFDG is the charity that champions best practice in finance management in the voluntary sector. Our training and development programmes enable finance managers to give the essential leadership on finance strategy and management that their charities need. With more than 1,700 members, managing over £21bn, we are uniquely placed to challenge regulation which threatens the effective use of charity funds. For more information, please see www.cfdg.org.uk  

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