“Integrity is an aspirational goal where the public interest, honesty and fairness override the personal desire for gain. It has substantial social and economic benefits for cities and their residents.”
–Water Integrity Global Outlook 2021: Urban Water and Sanitation
Integrity also has substantial benefits for water and sanitation organisations, in terms of performance and service, as well as reputation. When water and sanitation sector utilities proactively implement measures to support integrity and reduce losses from corruption and malpractice, they engage in integrity management. They may do this as part of a specific integrity strategy, or through change management processes, compliance, or Environmental, Social, & Governance (ESG) programmmes.
Where are these efforts leading? How can we benchmark current status and what does it take to progress? These are questions that still have vague answers although new data from integrity assessments are pointing to patterns in how integrity practices are implemented and their relationship with organisational development.
Proposing a 5-level integrity maturity model for water and sanitation utilities
Our new discussion paper proposes a five-level integrity maturity model for water and sanitation utilities based on recent data from integrity assessments using integrity indicators. The proposed model provides an evidence-based simplified vision and guide for utilities working to improve integrity in their work processes.
It suggests utilities at level 1 would have integrity practices in place that are easy to implement and primarily aiming to comply with basic legal requirements. Utilities at level 5 would have stronger mechanisms for control and sanctions in place and proactively communicate on integrity-related topics.
More data and discussion are welcome and needed to strengthen the model and support the ambitions of integrity champions. We are keen to hear more about the needs of utilities and their partners and we look forward to exchanging ideas on a model.
For comments or more information about the methodologies and tools behind this model, write to: UAllakulov(at)win-s(dot)org or join the research discussion on the Sanitation and Water Integrity Research Lab SWIRL) on Linkedin.