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About the nis
About the NIS
What is the National Integrity System?
The National Integrity System (NIS) consists of key institutions, specific sectors (the ‘pillars’) that contribute to integrity, transparency and accountability in a given society. When it functions
properly, the NIS combats corruption as part of the larger struggle against the abuse of power, malfeasance and misappropriation in all its forms. Strengthening the NIS involves promoting good
governance in all aspects of a particular society.
The NIS concept has been developed and promoted by Transparency International (TI) as part of
its holistic approach to countering corruption. While there is no blueprint for an effective system to prevent corruption, there is however a growing international consensus about the salient features
of anti-corruption/pro-integrity systems that work best. Country studies are based on qualitative assessments of the institutions involved in the anti-corruption system.
Why produce NIS country studies?
The aim of each study is to assess the National Integrity System in theory (laws and regulatory
provisions) and in practice (the extent to which these work). Via these studies, Transparency International aims to provide an overview of the National Integrity Systems in countries in all
regions of the world. These studies provide both benchmarks for measuring further developments
in these countries and also a basis for cross-country comparison. In terms of establishing
benchmarks, the studies offer a starting point for identifying the areas in need of priority action. They also constitute the basis on which the relevant parties can assess the initiatives involved in
the fight against corruption. The NIS country studies highlight, for example, the pillars that have proved most successful and why, whether the pillars are mutually supportive and the factors
supporting or hindering their effectiveness. The country studies also assess the areas that must be addressed to improve the system and the factors required to support the overall development of
Regarding cross-country comparisons, the country studies create a strong, empirical basis that
contributes to our understanding of how countries with strong and weak performance records are governed. Within regions or among several countries sharing a similar political, economic and
social structure, the results of the study can create a type of peer pressure for implementing reforms or create opportunities for learning from countries at comparable stages of development.
The country studies are an important measuring tool for Transparency International. They complement TI’s indices and surveys such as the Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), the Indice de
corruption des pays exportateurs (ICPE)
[index of corruption in exporting countries] and the Global Corruption Barometer, or the national surveys that explore the specific practices and constraints
within each country, to produce empirical, qualitative results on the rules and practices governing the integrity systems. As of August 2007, more than 70 of these studies have been carried out.
TI believes it is necessary to understand the regulatory provisions for and the capacity of the NIS pillars, as well as their interaction and practices, in order to be in a position to diagnose the risks of
corruption and to draw up strategies to counter these risks. The NIS country studies are a unique TI product inasmuch as they reflect the systemic approach adopted by TI to counter corruption and
the independence of analysis the world’s leading anti-corruption NGO can offer.
Methodology of NIS studies
The NIS country studies provide a qualitative assessment of a country’s integrity system. These studies are based on both objective and subjective information sources, which differ in quantity
depending on the country being assessed. The studies therefore require both desk and field research. There is at least one focus group convened for each country study. Focus groups participants include governance and anti-corruption experts from the public and private sectors, representatives
from the liberal professions (for example lawyers, accountants and engineers), from among moneylenders if need be, the media and civil society. The aim of the focus group is to bring
together a wide range of actors to assess the NIS and discuss the first draft of the country study, which is then revised on the basis of the conclusions of the focus group meeting.
Each country study is revised by an independent external expert.
The Hungarian NIS study
NIS country studies are usually composed by one single author, however we could not follow this methodology. In Hungary research activities on corruption concentrate on certain segments and
lack cross-sector approach, therefore each chapter was written by experts of that certain area. In Hungary private sector plays essential role and has key responsibility in countering corruption.
Since corruption in the business sector is a less researched field and anti-corruption activities still concentrate exclusively on the public sector the business environment needs special analysis. TI
Hungary dedicates a separate research to reveal corruption mechanisms in the private sector; it will be completed in 2008. The current study is therefore titled Part One of the National Integrity
System country analysis; it will be completed by the findings of the research about the business sector (Part Two) in April 2008.
The research provides an analysis of the functioning and interaction of the ‘pillars’ of the NIS therefore does not necessarily cover in details all areas which are perceived as corrupt in a given
country. In the case of Hungary the health care system – which is perceived as one of the most corrupt fields – could not be covered by the scope of this analysis due to methodological
constraints. Transparency International Hungary initiated the analysis of the Hungarian NIS in April 2007 in
order to find the roots and causes of corruption and provide recommendations on how to tackle them. We truly hope that the diagnosis of the strengths and weaknesses of the integrity system
will contribute to the implementation of adequate anti-corruption reform efforts in Hungary.
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