Survey says corruption is common in UK construction industry
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Survey says corruption is common in UK construction industry

03 Oct 2013

About 48% of British construction professionals feel that corruption is commonplace within the country’s construction industry, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

About 48% of British construction professionals feel that corruption is commonplace within the country’s construction industry, according to a survey by the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB).

The survey gathered views of around 700 construction professionals and was carried out to determine whether corruption is perceived to be a problem within the UK construction industry.

It also focused on what practices are deemed to be corrupt and which parts of the construction process may be susceptible to corruption.

More than one in three respondents, around 35%, said they had been offered a bribe or incentive on at least one occasion.

The survey also found that about 38% of respondents had come across cartel activity in the UK construction industry on at least one occasion and of those 29% had witnessed it over the last 12 months.

CIOB said nearly half of the respondents were unaware whether their company had a whistle-blowing policy, and only 7% had used it, reporting varying degrees of success.

According to the survey, 54% were unable to estimate the annual cost of fraud or corruption to their organisation, while about 10% indicated annual losses of £1m or more as a result of fraud and corruption.

CIOB deputy chief executive Michael Brown said the findings reveal that little progress has been made since its first piece of research into corruption in 2006.

"What we have found is that cultural practices and the consequences of the recession have placed a greater strain on companies to sometimes engage in adverse practices as a survival mechanism," Brown said.

The research indicates that the UK construction industry and the Government are not taking enough action to tackle corruption.

The CIOB suggests that measures aimed at tackling corruption, such as the Bribery Act, appear to have had a limited effect, with no prosecutions against businesses taking place.

"If the UK is going to live up to its rhetoric of being tough on corruption, both the Government and industry must do more to show proof of progress," Brown said.