Electoral politics and public opinion in Britain has been increasingly
influenced by the perception that governments are dishonest and that MPs in
particular are "in it for themselves" and cannot be trusted.
We conduct research into dishonesty in public and private life in Britain with the
aim of understanding its nature and causes and how the public perceive it. Our broader
aim is to make recommendations about how public cynicism about
honesty in government and in the private sector can be addressed, by taking
advantage of our University's high level of expertise in social science research.
Latest research: How honest are you?
Britons are less honest than they were a decade ago, according to our latest research.
Take our integrity test (.pdf) now
to see how you rate in integrity compared with Britons in general. How did you do? Send your
score and any comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our project has been covered extensively in the media and featured on BBC Radio 4's
Best of Today podcast series.
To be effective, the study of integrity needs a broad, interdisciplinary
approach which considers economic, sociological, psychological, philosophical,
legal and political issues. Our ambition is to investigate the scope, causes
and consequences of both honest
and dishonest behaviour in public and private life.
Our initial focus is on the UK, but comparisons will be made with
other countries as the Centre grows, with the aim of understanding how Britain
compares with the rest of the world.
What we do
We are currently focusing on three key areas of work:
- The integrity audit - the Centre is planning to conduct an integrity
audit of the UK population, bringing together a variety of existing data
relating to standards of integrity in British society to produce an overall
picture of the state of integrity in Britain.
- The integrity survey - the Centre will conduct a scoping survey of
integrity in British society with the aim of identifying the extent to which it
varies across communities, religions, age, income and other social cleavages in
- Consultancy - the Centre offers an ‘integrity health check’, for
public and private sector organisations concerned with their relationships to
the wider world. The emphasis of these health checks is on identifying cultures
that promote or inhibit integrity within an organisation, rather than just
auditing past behaviour.
Our Centre was launched in 2012 at the House of Lords in London.
Professor Paul Whiteley is
the Director of the Essex Centre for the Study of Integrity. Associate members of the Centre include: