The Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) is in the process of reviewing the National Integrity and Anti-Corruption Strategy (NIACS), one of various integrity promotion tools integrated into the 11th Plan as a key performance indicator.
ACC has learned that the existing strategy required ownership, supervision and strong communication for better implementation and indicators, included in the strategy, were not clear to monitor and evaluate its progress.
This led ACC to review the existing strategy at individual, systemic, and organizational level. The commission has therefore been conducting consultative meetings with various agencies to review the NIACS 2014-2018 to develop a new NIACS and a Monitoring and Evaluation system.
During one meeting with media houses and Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) one issue which dominated the discussion was the need for ACC to come up with a proactive communication strategy and create a dynamic forum for healthy discussions and to create a better understanding of ACC’s mandates.
Many were of the view that they do not see ACC as a representative body for the people due to its very limiting and overly rule-based nature of functioning.
One participant pointed out that since society in Bhutan is not very questioning, it calls for ACC to be more actively engaged with different CSOs and the government and pave a path for participatory formulations of policies at the grass root level.
The participants expressed that communication access to ACC is very limited and only handful of the senior journalists can gain access through their established sources. That calls for the ACC to conduct timely sensitization with young journalists, and invite media for press conferences to provide clarification and professionally compensate for the lack of communication on the major cases after all the due investigation is over or at least announce the status of the cases formally.
Since CSOs and the media represent larger sections of the society, it was also recommended that the ACC conduct sensitization on corruption through frequent workshops. A CSO rasied the issue of ‘quite corruption’ not readily visible seeping in many systems, which cannot be substantiated through investigations or concrete evidence and which are more to do with human values like giving favors and nepotism, calls for strong advocacy measures in schools and institutions to inculcate basic moral values.
A report from ACC stated that due to lack of close monitoring and evaluation system, mainstreaming of anti-corruption agenda within the organizations’ internal and overall governance systems could not achieve results envisaged.
To this end, it has become imperative to review the effectiveness of NIACS implementation and establish clear relevance and link with the 12th FYP in building strong systems of integrity through institutionalization of integrity promotion tools.
Three international consultants are chairing the consultative meetings to have a better understanding of the policies, which will aid them in reviewing the existing NIACS.