31 August 2012 

Jeremy Pope, who died this week, was a major influence in institutionalising the importance of organisational integrity.  Although Transparency International is now recognised as one of the paramount NGOs engaged in promoting open and accountable government, Jeremy’s role in its formation is not widely known.  He is a contemporary illustration “… that a prophet hath no honour in his own country”. 

Jeremy attended a Transparency International meeting earlier this month, at which Sir Ken Keith spoke on “Bringing the lamp of scrutiny to dark places”, Disappointingly the opportunity was not taken to recognise Jeremy’s long influence on the evolution of Transparency  International,. Many of those attending were unaware of who he was or of that contribution. An allusion in Sir Ken’s presentation went unappreciated by most.

The Corruption Perceptions Index and the National Integrity System assessment on which TI’s high profile is founded, were largely Jeremy’s work.  He created the metaphor that an integrity system is an ancient Greek temple with mutually reinforcing pillars. He was amused by academics who deconstructed his work and portrayed the integrity system as a birdsnest.

His design of the Corruption Perceptions Index was unpopular in some countries. When the first CPI was collated in 1995, with New Zealand rated best, and Indonesia rated worst, a prominent Indonesian was known to comment that the results were as expected – Pope was a New Zealander; it would be improbable for there to be any other outcome.

His belief that there should be less energy spent on measuring levels of corruption, and a greater commitment made to supporting integrity in action meant he distanced himself from Transparency International and created Tiri.

In 2006, the State Services Commissioner at the time ( Mark Prebble ) enlisted Jeremy’s participation on an advisory committee on the Standards of Integrity and Conduct for the State Services.  The committee supported the Commission’s consideration of proposals for implementing the code and the material prepared to support the training of staff.