Democratic Audit’s new book is an in-depth assessment of the quality of the UK’s democracy in 2018. My chapter asks: ‘How transparent and free from corruption is UK government?’
‘For citizens to get involved in governing themselves and participating in politics, they must be able to find out easily what government agencies and other public bodies are doing. Citizens, NGOs and firms also need to be sure that laws and regulations are being applied impartially and without corruption. Ben Worthy and the Democratic Audit team consider how well the UK government performs on transparency and openness, and how effectively anti-corruption policies operate in government and business.’
Read and download the chapter here
Transparency: Negotiating Institutional Domains
Transparency over the last decade has entrenched itself within political discourse as a kind of universal good that is both an instrumental means to a number of positive outcomes (such as improved trust or accountability) and an end in itself (Meijer 2013). It is, moreover, an idea that is universally supported across the political spectrum as a means of opening up institutions to public scrutiny (Birchall 2014). Underneath this acceptance, transparency can be many things. Darch and Underwood describe it as an ‘ideologically determined political initiative that can be deployed to achieve a range of different agendas’ (2010, 49:7). The exact dynamics and divisions vary from country to country and area to area. Transparency resembles democracy itself, with a general consensus on the concept, but with its interpretation ‘open to complexity, contradiction and numerous varieties’: It is in some senses an ‘empty signifier’ that can be ‘filled’ by very different interpretations or emphasis (Stubbs and Snell 2014, 160).
Download it here https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3275200