The "Integrity Assessment" was introduced to assess the integrity levels and corruption-prone tasks of public organizations objectively so that public organizations can make voluntary efforts to prevent corruption.
Even before the development of the "Integrity Assessment," there were various tools to diagnose corruption, such as the CPI. The existing tools, however, mostly covered macro areas such as national defense, education, and taxation. Furthermore, many and unspecified persons were surveyed only about the perception on the level of corruption. Therefore, precise corruption-prone tasks, current situations, or causes of corruption were not identified and it was also difficult to reflect the result of surveys into policies.
The Integrity Assessment is designed to assess corruption status of individual organizations and their specific tasks, rather than macro areas of public service. And only firsthand service users and internal staff of public organizations are surveyed about their corruption experience and perception, while inaccurate perception of the general public is excluded from the assessment.
Hence, the assessment results point out the areas where corruption is most severe in each organization, making it possible for public organizations to focus their efforts on addressing corruption in those specific tasks and improving relevant legal and institutional frameworks.
Meantime, the scores calculated from these results are disclosed to the public through the media showing the integrity level of each public organization. And this caused competition among public organizations to make voluntary efforts to improve their integrity levels.
As a result, since the assessment officially started in 2002, the "overall integrity index" of the Korean public sector has increased consistently from 6.43 in 2002 to 8.43 in 2011. And corruption experienced by citizens dealing with public service also has been decreased substantially. The rate of respondents who answered that he/she had offered money or other valuables to public officials was 4.1% in 2002, but the rate has continuously decreased down to 0.8% in 2011.
These results indicating the improvement of integrity level can be regarded as strong evidence for positive impact of the "Integrity Assessment". According to the ACRC's survey conducted in May 2011, the public officials surveyed said that the Integrity Assessment made the greatest contribution to preventing corruption in the public sector among the ACRC's anti-corruption measures.
Of course there might be many other external variables, but the voluntary efforts of public offices induced by the Integrity Assessment have had far-reaching effect on the increased levels of integrity in the Korean public sector. And providing reliable reference point and information about corruption status, the "Integrity Assessment" has contributed to enhancing transparency in the public sector, benefiting people in both direct and indirect ways.