" A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives."
James Madison, from a letter to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822
Welcome to the official website for the Research Network of Anti-Corruption Agencies (ANCORAGE-NET). The network was set up following the international conference European Anti-Corruption Agencies: protecting the Community's financial interests in a knowledge-based, innovative and integrated manner, which took place in Lisbon, 17-19 May 2006. At this Conference, all participating ACA heads from Europe and other parts of the world kindly agreed to give substance to this project by voluntarily depositing (and updating) any relevant information concerning the functioning and activities of their specialised agencies. There was no founding declaration and no statutes were approved. The collective commitment to work together to develop and share knowledge-based, innovative and integrated solutions to corruption control was kept informal. The project relies on the constructive input of ACA officials and their goodwill to contribute positively to the contents of this portal.
These are some of the background questions you will be able to look up in our database:
- What is an ACA? When do ACAs emerge? Why are they set up and what are they meant for? Is there a particular context and purpose, including a national strategy?
- What institutional shape was followed? Was there a founding "model"? Or were they simply a product of local institutional dynamics? What agencies also take responsibility for anti-corruption activity? Where do ACAs fit into the overall public sector context?
- What is the overall mission of ACAs: protecting revenue, promoting democracy, keeping donors happy? What is the scope of their mandate? What types of cases are investigated? What are the mechanisms in place to guarantee and scrutinise the proper use of special powers?
- How independent are they? Are there clear appointment and dismissal rules that are applicable to head officials? Are ACAs sufficiently staffed with qualified human resources to match the powers attributed to them? Are there training and induction programs for officials to help them perform their duties?
- How do ACAs work with other agencies? Who are they accountable to? What is the scope of their cooperation with other ACAs abroad?
- How do they relate to civil society? Do they have an open complaints system? How do they relate to the media? What use do they make of ICT?
- How do they measure performance, success and impact? How far does the governance context affect the work of ACAs? Why and when do ACAs fail?
- Will they remain permanent institutional features of the structure of government or will they slowly disappear as conventional enforcement agencies gradually become more effective and regain public prestige and support? Will ACAs continue to expand to new countries or will the demand for these specialised agencies start to fade as the attention of world institutions moves away from corruption to other more pressing global problems?
We hope ANCORAGE-NET is useful to you in your work and we look forward to hearing your comments and suggestions.
Finally, we would like to give warm thanks to all our partners for their availability, cooperation and collective commitment. We look forward to expanding our membership to other ACAs around the world and to increasing our co-operation with other anti-corruption research networks and NGOs.