In July 2023, the Joffe Trust and a coalition of campaigners organised a strategic retreat for civil society organisations working to tackle the UK’s dirty money problem.
This was our fifth annual retreat. The purpose was to reflect on recent experience and identify how we could achieve even more together in future.
The war in Ukraine has transformed the political landscape around this issue. Early last year, the Open Society Foundations also came to focus on fixing the UK’s global role in helping handle the proceeds of crime and corruption. We’re extremely grateful for their crucial support.
Since then, tremendous progress has been made, for instance through two Economic Crime Bills and a new Economic Crime Plan. For example, the resulting reform of Companies House has been a priority goal for years, and should now be a huge step forward in UK corporate transparency.
The UK’s enforcement agencies are gaining some new resources, and the need for more is widely established. There have been real developments in areas from engaging with the professions on economic crime, to bringing innovative legal cases based on the Proceeds of Crime Act.
However, there is much more work to be done. The enforcement effort in the UK needs to be seriously strengthened and resourced. Transparency reforms need to be seen through. Allies from the US described how momentum there is faltering, through the long and grinding reality of implementing new legislation.
Looking ahead, there is a huge opportunity to cement progress by ensuring that current reforms achieve real impact.
The implementation of laws and plans needs detailed attention and support over the coming years. Political salience needs to be maintained through a general election and connected to threats from climate change to tensions with China. New alliances need to be built and sustained across sectors and political parties.
Participants at the retreat discussed priorities for the years ahead, along with practical ways of working together.
We would be delighted to discuss any aspect of this work and connections to related issues. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch.