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ICE Fellow and CoST Technical Adviser Hamish Goldie-Scot describes how CoST’s focus on transparency, participation and accountability in pursuit of a shared vision of “better lives from better infrastructure” serves to protect and enhance the status of civil engineers.
From a legal and compliance perspective, considerable progress has been made since the late 1990s. At that time, paying bribes or facilitation payments to foreign public officials as a way of obtaining or being allowed to compete for contracts was still a ”perfectly normal”, and in most cases tax deductible way of doing business in many European countries.
Since then, governments and international bodies have introduced “zero tolerance” policies regarding corruption. In parallel with professional business integrity initiatives, this has markedly changed the legal environment and related “compliance”. But corruption exists in the shadows, and can occur at every stage of the project cycle.
Building on these two features, CoST assurance entails a team of independent experts, including civil engineers, being appointed by a multi-stakeholder group to turn disclosed data into compelling information that clearly communicates underlying issues.
Without pointing a finger of blame, the resulting assurance reports produced by CoST members generate recommendations that not only address issues on specific projects, but also facilitate broader improvements in sector governance.
There is growing evidence of remarkable success of this approach in several of the countries in which the CoST approach is currently applied. By helping to build competence and trust, CoST leads to savings in both time and cost.
Be sure to join incoming ICE President Rachel Skinner's inaugural address on 3 November where she will be discussing the importance of carbon emission reduction and the need for urgent actions. Book the event here.
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