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Corruption in Construction: What can be done?

Posted: 4th March 2014

One of the big problems the industry faces is that UK law enforcement agencies have an acknowledged lack of information on activity in the construction industry.

Shortly after the CIOB report was published, I was asked by The Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) to meet with two officers from the National Crime Agency (NCA) as they too were conducting research into economic crime in our industry and wanted to know more. During my two hour interview I described to them how the industry works, areas where it is vulnerable, and where in the construction process I believe corrupt activity might occur.

The NCA taking an interest is a positive step, but the questions remains: what can be done to tackle corruption in construction and for the industry to better protect itself?

Next month, in my capacity as CIC Deputy Chairman and as a direct result of interest from CIC members following my meeting with the NCA, I will be chairing a workshop that will cover issues such as what corruption is and how it can be recognised and how professionals can combat corruption and fraud. We will aim to identify where the opportunities for corruption are and seek advice from bodies such as CIOB, the NCA, and the Serious Fraud Office (SFO). Key to this workshop will be the two-way dialogue we can get going with such agencies, so that we can educate them about our world as well as them educating us.

This session will, I believe, be a very serious first step in getting on top of this problem once and for all.

If you have any thoughts or opinions about corruption in construction, please contact CIC Policy & Public Affairs Officer Ciaran Molloy

Contributor: Tony Burton is Deputy Chairman of the Construction Industry Council and Senior Partner at Gardiner and Theobald LLP. For more information on Tony and Gardiner & Theobald visit