Ethics and complaints

Transparency International is guided by an ethical framework and a commitment to uphold core principles in all the movement’s efforts. We undertake to be open, honest and accountable in our relationships with everyone we work with and with each other.

The Statement of Vision, Values and Guiding Principles provides the basis for all our work, shaping the individual codes of conduct of the chapters, secretariat and Board of Directors.

Update on ethics and integrity framework review

Following discussions with the appropriate staff and ethics bodies at Transparency International’s Secretariat in late 2017, the new Managing Director of TI-S, supported by the Board of TI, committed to reviewing the organisation’s ethics and integrity framework in 2018. This was considered necessary to ensure TI’s policies and procedures were robust, fit for purpose and met the high standards we demand of ourselves and others.

An independent expert review was concluded at the end of July 2018. It resulted in a number of recommendations which are currently being implemented. Two key initial steps are:

  • the appointment of an external Independent Ethics and Integrity Counselor, who can provide impartial legal and ethical advice to TI-S staff members;
  • and an Integrity Officer, who will be a full-time appointment to the TI-S staff.

We expect both positions to be filled in 2018, at which time will review all policies and procedures that relate to its ethics and integrity infrastructure.

In the period between October and the appointment of the Independent Ethics and Integrity Counsellor and Integrity Officer, TI-S has a temporary process in place to address any ethics or integrity issues that may arise. In this interim phase the Managing Director remains as the primary person for reporting integrity violations. In case the issue relates to the Managing Director, staff can report directly to the chair of the Ethics Committee of the Board of Directors of TI. Additionally, the HR department continues to fulfil a proactive role regarding labour conflicts and other issues affecting staff in the workplace.

People at Transparency International around the world adhere to a Conflict of Interest Policy that establishes standards in situations where the interests or values of the movement may conflict with those of individuals entrusted with specific responsibilities for the movement.

Code of Conduct guides the day-to-day work of the secretariat staff. In addition, an Anti-Harassment Policy for events and meetings organised by the Transparency International Secretariat ensures a harassment-free environment for all participants. A Child Protection Policy forms part of our HR manual and provides guidance to secretariat staff on the definitions of child abuse and on the steps to take if encountered in the course of their work.

The Board of Directors has its own Code of Conduct which reflects the requirement for the publication of a Register of Interests for all members, as can be found following their biographies. At the national level, chapters develop their own Codes of Conduct with their board members also publishing Registers of Interests.

The Ethics Committee provides advice on ethical questions to the Board of Directors, the chapters and the secretariat.

The TI-S Whistleblower Policy can be called upon by any individuals working under any form of contract or agreement with TI-S to raise concerns about misconduct and wrongdoing such as acts of a fraudulent, dangerous or criminal nature, incidences of corruption or any other serious reputational risk for TI-S, and suspicion thereof.

In case of complaints or feedback about/to a TI Chapter

TI National Chapters are locally-based, independently-governed entities with their own internal ethics body. Complaints or feedback should be addressed to the competent body in the National Chapter itself. In case where it is felt that the Chapter is conflicted in dealing with the given case, please contact the secretariat by e-mailing by outlining (i) the problem, (ii) the steps that you have already taken with the Chapter and the results, (iii) how the Chapter would have been conflicted in dealing with the matter.