New software makes it easier to fight corruption

Illustration: UNODC11 November 2009 - How do you measure corruption? Some people say it is like chasing shadows. Others say it can be done through perception-based indices. UNODC has developed a new technique with state-of-the-art software.

Parties to the United Nations Convention against Corruption are required to assess how they are implementing the Convention. Thus far, they have had to fill out questionnaires, which can be cumbersome.

In order to speed up the process, UNODC- using in-house software developers - has devised a self-assessment checklist for the Convention. The omnibus survey software can also be used for assessing implementation of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and its three Protocols (against trafficking in persons, smuggling of migrants and the illicit manufacturing of and trafficking in firearms).

According to Dimitri Vlassis, chief of the Corruption and Economic Crime Section of UNODC, this software can save time and effort. "In the past, there was a lot of paperwork and duplication. Now, at a click of a button, States can input their data", says Vlassis. By introducing cross-references among crime-related treaties, the software automatically alerts users to the fact that information relevant to more than one treaty has already been collected. States can import such information or amend it as they see fit.

The software fulfills another important function: needs assessment. "The reports generated by completing this checklist provide a gap analysis that enable States and UNODC to pinpoint where technical assistance is needed", explains Mr. Vlassis.

UNODC Crime Prevention Expert Giovanni Gallo, who helped develop the tool, explains some of the features. "There are hyperlinks to legislative guides, cross-references to other relevant treaties, and user-friendly instructions and templates all the way through in order to make the system as effective as possible."

The checklist has been tested in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in 37 countries. The response has been very positive.

"This is the latest in an expanding range of successful UNODC software products", says the head of the UNODC IT service, Phillip Kruss. "Countries fighting corruption and other types of crime can turn to UNODC for tailor-made IT solutions developed in-house by UNODC's software developers, who possess subject matter expertise that is simply not available from commercial sources".

The next phase is to roll out the software to as many countries as possible. It is anticipated that UNODC will team up with UNDP to provide training.

The omnibus survey software was developed thanks to generous contributions from the Governments of Canada, Germany and the United States.

To request for the software please send an email to: