THE ICE, the Association of Consulting Engineers (ACE), the British Consultants & Construction Bureau (BCCB), and Transparency International (TI) last week joined forces to found the Anti-Corruption Forum.
The forum has already called on 30 of the UK's leading civil engineering consultants and contractors to come together to stamp out corruption and bribery in the construction industry.
The European Commission estimates that the global cost of corruption is equivalent to 5% of the world economy. And according to anti-corruption lobby group TI, construction and engineering is the most corrupt business sector in the world. (ICE News 18 March).
'We have jointly established the Anti-Corruption Forum in order to develop industryled solutions to the problem of bribery and fraud in the domestic and international infrastructure, construction and engineering industries, ' said outgoing ICE President Douglas Oakervee.
He added, 'ACE, BCCB, ICE and TI believe that it is important that the industry speaks out against corruption, and takes a lead in working towards its elimination.'
The forum will bring together the key players in the construction industry to discuss confidentially the level of corruption prevalent in the UK and abroad. It aims to develop an action plan next year and forward its recommendations to governments and the World Bank.
TI construction and engineering project director Neil Stansbury said that recommendations could be to encourage clients, contractors and subcontractors working in areas known to be corrupt to sign an 'anti-bribery code of conduct' and be assessed externally.
Stansbury believes that having the three main construction bodies leading this forum was 'hugely positive', but warned that he was unsure about whether UK companies would be forthcoming with information. 'The first thing is for the UK to acknowledge that there is a problem.'
He added that the support of the ICE's ethics committee had been key to creating the forum.
The committee earlier updated its rules of professional conduct to include advice on ethics.
The guidelines say, 'Corruption has a significant adverse effect on developing countries. It can result in projects that are unnecessary, unreliable, dangerous and over-priced. It is also a major cost and risk to the international construction and engineering industry.'