The Transparency International Corruption Perceptions Index 2011 has been published today.

This is TI’s explanation of the index:

“The Corruption Perceptions Index ranks countries according to their perceived levels of public-sector corruption. The 2011 index draws on different assessments and business opinion surveys carried out by independent and reputable institutions. The surveys and assessmentsused to compile the index include questions relating to the bribery of public officials, kickbacks in public procurement, embezzlement of public funds, and questions that probe the strength and effectiveness of public-sector anti-corruption efforts.”

Further, from the report:

“The 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index shows that public frustration is well founded. No region or country in the world is immune to the damages of public-sector corruption, the vast majority of the 183 countries and territories assessed score below five on a scale of 0 (highly corrupt) to 10 (very clean).

New Zealand, Denmark and Finland top the list, while North Korea and Somalia are at the bottom.  According to Huguette Labelle, Chair of Transparency International:

“This year we have seen corruption on protestors’ banners be they rich or poor. Whether in a Europe hit by debt crisis or an Arab world starting a new political era, leaders must heed the demands for better government.

Public-sector governance that puts the interests of its citizens first is a responsibility that is not restricted to any border. Governments must act accordingly. For their part, citizens need to continue demanding better performance from their leaders. If we work together, the situation shown by this year’s Corruption Perceptions Index can improve. These are our countries and our future.”

The UK is 16th from the top, a position which needs much improvement but still higher, by comparison, than the US at 24, France at 25, Spain at 31 and Italy a depressing joint 69 with Ghana and Macedonia.

Here is TI’s press release which accompanies the new index.