Transparency International UK’s Defence and Security Programme is pleased to announce the release of “Watchdogs?”, a study of the strengths and weaknesses of parliamentary control of defence in countries across the world.

The study—a spin-off from the Government Defence Anti-Corruption Index 2013 (GI) which analysed what 82 countries do to reduce corruption risks in the sector— shows how parliaments and legislatures can improve their oversight of defence. “Watchdogs?” provides clear examples of good practice, as well as innovative recommendations and tools.

The report finds that:

Two-thirds of parliaments and legislatures fail to exercise sufficient control over the defence sector.
85 per cent of parliaments lack effective, accountable and comprehensive scrutiny of defence policy.
Areas of particular concern include the capacity of parliaments to oversee secret budgets, oversight and transparency of the general defence budget, and oversight of defence procurement.
Some countries stand out with evidence of stronger controls of external audit and intelligence services.

Transparency International calls on parliamentarians to establish cross-party committees and groups of external experts to empower their scrutiny and inform their debate of defence matters.

The report (attached), overall results, analysis of thee seven areas in which parliaments play a vital anti-corruption role, and other material are available at

Download full report

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