Countering corruption in the civil service system
Corruption is a problem that affects all countries, regardless of their status and level of development. The civil service is one of the main places of corruption. Abuse of office among officials leads to:
- undermining the legitimacy of the authorities;
- destruction of the fundamental values of a developed society;
- complication of direct dialogue between the authorities and the public;
- the emergence of popular discontent. As a result, there is a threat to the sovereignty of the state.
The civil service system should provide for effective anti-corruption mechanisms. The level of the economy and people's lives directly depends on the result of these mechanisms.
Reasons for the appearance and the current level of corruption in Russia
There is no clear cause for corruption among officials. This problem is of a social nature and depends on the actions of the legal sphere. Also, countries with a high level of corruption are distinguished by the gradual ousting of legal and ethical relations between people.
As a result, any person endowed with power begins to abuse their position for the purpose of enrichment, self-affirmation, or other personal gain. If you do not deal with the processes of inhibiting corruption, over time it becomes a social norm for all members of society.
The wording proposed by the UN Convention against Corruption and the Civil Convention against Corruption of the Council of Europe (to which Russia has joined) gives a broader definition of this concept. According to it, corruption is a promise, offer or provision to a public official, personally or through intermediaries, of any undue advantage for the official himself.
In 2013, the UN conducted an investigation to find out the Corruption Perception Index in different countries of Europe and the world. According to the final result, Russia scored 76 points out of 100 possible and took 24th place among 177 states of the world. This means that the majority of residents turn a blind eye to the problem of corruption or are themselves active participants in it.
Corruption is progressing in the Russian civil service. It does not diminish or eradicate. All this happens due to the violation of the main function of the state - legislative and regulatory. The established norms, rules, laws and orders are mostly not followed. There is also no impunity for officials and there is a problem of bribery judges.
As practice shows, one and the same power structure is endowed with both the powers of legislative norms and the functions of control. Delegation of several functions to state bodies simultaneously is a direct prerequisite for corruption. The second prerequisite is the willingness of citizens or administrative services to pay for their advantageous interpretation of the law or for ignoring violations.
Corruption minimization mechanisms
The mechanism of anti-corruption activities is based on the creation at the legislative level of income declaration systems and special control departments. As for the situation in the Russian Federation, for a long time negative stereotypes of a tolerant attitude towards corruption have taken root in society. In the mass consciousness, the opinion has formed that corruption crimes do no harm to society and are only a way to speed up the work of the bureaucracy.
In public administration, there is an objective need to regulate administrative, economic and other relations. Control must be exercised both at the level of the highest authorities and in each individual municipal council.
Forms of corruption in public service
Among the types of corruption schemes in the civil service system, the following types of violations are distinguished:
- Corruption in the distribution of budgetary funds.
- Fraud in public procurement. It implies conducting non-transparent tenders for the purchase, development or construction of objects of national importance. In most cases, government officials keep honest and competitive companies out of tenders. Instead, all grants are split between the firms that sponsored the dishonest choice of officials.
- Illegal privatization of enterprises.
- Use of official powers in the field of natural resource control.
- Obtaining loans at scanty interest, which are then not given back.
- Maintaining the shadow economy.
It is obvious that the main corrupt officials in this area are civil servants. As a rule, fraudulent schemes and bribes concern both politicians and lower-level officials. Only the amount of benefit received varies.
The spread and social danger of corruption increases significantly during the period of significant social upheavals, which leads to ignorance of the rule of law, citizens' dependence on the arbitrariness of officials.
Today in the Russian Federation the problem of corruption is very acute, and it can be solved only through the implementation of a whole range of anti-corruption measures. All of them should not only aim at eradicating corruption as a phenomenon, but also prevent conditions that directly and indirectly contribute to its occurrence.
Countermeasures include three basic strategies:
- prevention of corruption in the civil service system;
- fight against corruption offenses;
- elimination of the consequences of corruption.
In terms of its content, prevention is a set of preventive measures, the purpose of which is to prevent the emergence of new forms of corruption. An important role is played by the prevention of the formation of a set of causes and conditions that contribute to the development of this phenomenon.
As the researchers note, crime prevention takes a special place in the system of measures to combat crime. The understanding of the prevention of corrupt practices proposed in the legislation is based on a narrow, criminalized approach to the phenomenon of corruption.
The activities of state authorities should be aimed at the following:
- Creation of a section of anti-corruption legislation in the system of state bodies, that is, a package of anti-corruption legislative acts.
Such acts should be developed taking into account domestic and best foreign experience. The creators should be specialists who know everything about the problems of corruption and the ways to overcome them. Draft laws must be coordinated with the competent state authorities.
The presence of such a set of laws and regulations is a legal prerequisite for an effective fight against corruption. At the same time, it should be remembered that the laws that are developed by the authorities may have significant gaps, and failures may be experienced in their implementation. Therefore, you need to involve outside specialists.
- Effective implementation of anti-corruption legislation.
It should be understood: no matter how perfect the legislation is, it will remain ineffective if there is no motivational start. This includes the interest of the state and society in its implementation. It also requires competent law enforcement and government officials who are able to properly use the law in the fight against corruption.
- Formation of political will among the state leadership to combat manifestations of corruption in all spheres, including in its own ranks.
At the same time, it should be understood that the new government, which seeks to combat corruption, may face opposition to its activities from the corrupt regime inherited by it.
- Development of comprehensive state programs to combat corruption, which would include not declarative provisions, but a specific system of effective measures.
It should be borne in mind that reforms that lack a concrete and realistic character do not give quick results and are rapidly losing support in society. Also, anti-corruption measures often do not apply to officials, but are only limited to “minor” employees, are perceived as ineffective and unfair.
Most of the anti-corruption measures that are being taken today in Russia are indicative and, consequently, of scanty effectiveness.
- Facilitating access to courts to resolve complaints.
The process of creating a claim should take a minimum amount of time. Citizens should not wait for years while the investigation is considering the case.
- Ensuring an objective trial.
Practice shows that most of the Russian courts are closely related to corruption. This leads to unfair enforcement of the law or to ignoring the accusations that citizens are trying to bring to officials.
- Development of a system of measures aimed at preventing corruption.
- The appointment of a high level of wages, in the presence of which it would be economically and socially unprofitable for government officials to penetrate corruption schemes and take bribes.
- Establishing complaints procedures for managers to protect those who complain.
- Real cooperation with foreign countries to combat corruption.
Only experienced leaders of states are able to take a sensible view of the current situation in the Russian civil service system and other areas. Domestic politicians are not always interested in adopting anti-corruption laws and real measures.
- Strict control over the execution of all anti-corruption actions.
One of the innovations of Russian legislation is the legislative package, which provides for the provision of access to all information about real estate. It also contains laws that oblige civil servants to declare income and upload declarations to a single database. Each user can get access to the database online.
Among the shortcomings of the implemented system, there are many false declarations. Often politicians and minor civil servants do not provide reliable information on income and property. There is no service for monitoring the compliance of the submitted documents and the real state of affairs.
Several years after the adoption of anti-corruption laws, the situation with the anti-corruption fight has deteriorated. Today, officials are actively passing laws that allow them to hide data about their offshore, real estate and companies.
The activities of all civil society institutions should be aimed primarily at informing society about corruption and the state of the fight against it in Russia. The media should promote public awareness of the following factors:
- harm from corruption;
- the duty to complain about corrupt officials;
- the actual level of corruption.
In turn, the implementation of these tasks provides for the following:
- the existence of democratic legislation on freedom of information;
- prohibition of censorship;
- laws that provide for liability for libel and insult;
- minimizing government pressure on independent media;
- registration of new enterprises or the cost of certificates, documents in government services should be simple and inexpensive.
It should be noted that today the issue of the relevance of the prevention of corruption in Russia has acquired meaning and understanding among citizens as never before.
The first steps should be aimed at identifying and suppressing corruption offenses in government and municipal authorities.
Solving the issue of creating an effective prevention system will help prepare the conditions for the proper performance by civil servants of their main duty - serving the people in a clear plane of compliance with the law.