This year’s transparency champion: Ireland

 Central Bank of Ireland

Central Bank of Ireland

The Central Bank of Ireland has won Central Banking’s Transparency Award for taking a “proactive approach to openness” and progressively revealing more of its inner workings to rebuild its credibility in the wake of the global financial crisis.

Central Banking staff on selecting the Central Bank of Ireland (CBI):

The CBI has had to work hard in winning back the public’s trust. It might have tried doing so by keeping as much hidden as possible, by increasing its opacity. Instead, it has opted for a diametrically opposed strategy: to embark on a process of educating the Irish public about complicated financial matters, and to open up more and more of its own workings, in an effort to win public support.

The CBI may come to stand as an example to its peers of how to deal with a loss of public support after a crisis. Its transparency initiatives have been a model of a central bank winning back respect by speaking clearly and honestly to the people it serves.

In my view, the Irish central bank clearly stands out from the field for publishing lots of detail about internal proceedings, travel expenses, salary scales and contracts, and also for its outreach activities to financially educate the public and explain what it is doing and how in a simple and illustrative way.

As Central Banking put it, “the 'explainers' of various financial topics published on its website are some of the clearest and most comprehensive efforts produced by any official body.”

Philip R. Lane, Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, speaking on the announcement of the award:

“Accountability and transparency are a key part of our strategy to safeguard stability and protect consumers. The award recognises our high standards of governance, risk management, transparency and accountability, and reflects our vision of being trusted by the public and respected by our peers.”