Public sector bodies urged to be more transparent

New study shows organisations aren’t transparent about anti-corruption practices

Irish public sector bodies, including semi-State companies and universities, need to be more proactive in publishing information that shows how they manage resources and take steps to prevent wrong-doing.

This is according to a new study in a report from Transparency International (TI) Ireland which looks at the practices of 30 organisations, including utilities, third-level colleges and sporting bodies,

According to the report, Ervia, previously Bord Gáis, scores highest with a 77 per cent rating. It is followed by the Electricity Supply Board (ESB) on 72 per cent.

Just nine other organisations were awarded half or more of the available points, achieving between 50 per cent and 57 per cent of the available points. The average overall score was 43 per cent.


Telefís na Gaeilge and Port of Galway were bottom of the rankings, with both recording a score of just 22 per cent.

The report reveals that most organisations are disclosing information on their structures and decision-making processes. However, many are less transparent when it comes to specifying anti-corruption measures or unambiguous public commitments on issues such as bribery.

The study looks at disclosure practices in five areas: anti-corruption and anti-bribery programmes, financial transparency, open governance, responsible political engagement, and whistleblowing policies.

An earlier report from Transparency International Ireland showed the private sector were more forthcoming in providing details about their anti-corruption programmes than bodies in the public sector. But they were less keen in revealing information about corporate structures.


John Devitt, TI chief executive, said both public and private sectors could be more transparent regarding financial information and safeguards around lobbying and political engagement.

Speaking at a webinar hosted to coincide with publication of the study, he said previous studies undertaken by TI had led organisations to improve their performance.

TI has made a number of recommendations aimed at improving anti-corruption systems and disclosure practices. These include the publishing of governance documents and comprehensive risk-based anti-corruption and anti-bribery programmes.

It also calls for standalone whistleblowing polices, a commitment to provide greater transparency in lobbying, the provision of clear information on asset disposal and procurement procedures, and the disclosure of procurement contracts awarded.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist