Rule No. 1327 of 10 January 2011 on awareness and prevention of fraud and corruption
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe,
CONSIDERING the commitment of the Council of Europe to the proper use of funds and resources entrusted to it, to the prevention of fraud and corruption, as well as to the protection of the Council of Europe’s reputation and interests;
DETERMINED to respect the principles of the fight against fraud and corruption contained in international conventions between the member States of the Council of Europe;
HAVING REGARD to the Staff Regulations, in particular Article 25, Article 30 and Article 36 thereof;
HAVING REGARD to the Charter on Professional Ethics of 15 July 2005;
HAVING REGARD to the Council of Europe Purchasing Code of Ethics of 25 October 2005;
HAVING REGARD to the Rule No. 1292 of 3 September 2010 on the protection of human dignity at the Council of Europe and other relevant internal regulatory instruments;
HAVING CONSULTED the Staff Committee in accordance with Article 5, paragraph 3, of the Regulations on Staff Participation (Appendix I to the Staff Regulations);
D E C I D E S:
Article 1 – Definitions
For the purposes of this Rule:
a. The term ‘Corruption’ shall be used to mean requesting, offering, giving or accepting, directly or indirectly, a bribe or any other undue advantage or prospect thereof, which distorts the proper performance of any duty or behaviour required of the recipient of the bribe, the undue advantage or the prospect thereof.
b. The term ‘Fraud’ shall be used to mean any illegal act or omission characterised by deceit, concealment or violation of trust, perpetrated to obtain money, property or services; to avoid payment or loss of services; or to secure personal or business advantage, irrespective of the application of threat of violence or of physical force.
c. The term ‘Retaliatory action’ shall be used to mean any direct or indirect adverse action that is threatened, recommended or taken against an individual because s/he reported reasonable suspicion of fraud or corruption or co-operated with an investigation of suspected fraud or corruption.
Article 2 – Scope of Application
1. The provisions of this Rule shall apply to all members of the Council of Europe Secretariat1 at any level and in any position or capacity.
2. The provisions of this Rule shall also apply to specially appointed officials and persons who are not Council of Europe Secretariat members who participate in the Council of Europe’s activities, wherever they may be held. These include, but are not limited to, judges of the European Court of Human Rights, the Commissioner for Human Rights, members of the Parliamentary Assembly and the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, members of Permanent Representations, trainees, experts, consultants, and employees of outside companies.
3. This Rule shall be without prejudice to the application of provisions of other internal regulatory instruments of the Council of Europe.
Article 3 – Aim of the Rule
The aim of this Rule is:
a. to prevent fraud and corruption and to promote the Council of Europe’s functioning in an open, transparent and fair manner;
b. to clarify rights and obligations in relation to reporting suspected fraud and corruption;
c. to enhance the protection of individuals who report reasonable suspicion of fraud and corruption or who co-operate with a duly authorised investigation.
Article 4 – Reporting of Suspected Fraud and Corruption
1. Secretariat members shall have a duty to report any reasonable suspicion of misconduct they deem to be fraud or corruption to the Director General of Administration or to the Director of Internal Oversight.
2. The other persons mentioned in Article 2, paragraph 2, hereof shall be encouraged to report any reasonable suspicion of the misconduct they deem to be fraud or corruption directly to the Secretary General of the Council of Europe.
3. The report shall be made as soon as possible after becoming aware of the suspected fraud or corruption. The report shall be factual and, where possible, be substantiated by reliable information and documentation.
4. Should there be any doubt as to whether an action constitutes fraud or corruption a Secretariat member may, on a confidential basis, seek guidance and advice from the Director General of Administration or from the Director of Internal Oversight.
Article 5 – Examination of Reports
1. The Director General of Administration or the Director of Internal Oversight shall examine and act upon the reports in accordance with the powers attributed to them under the relevant internal regulatory instruments of the Council of Europe.
2. The identity of a person reporting information or cooperating with the investigation shall not be disclosed, unless expressly authorised by him or her.
Article 6 – Protection against Retaliatory Action
1. Everyone to whom this Rule applies has the right to effective protection against retaliatory action, irrespective of the person perpetrating such conduct.
2. A person to whom this Rule applies and who believes that s/he has been subjected to retaliatory action and that the nature of the particular retaliatory action amounts to sexual or psychological harassment, may have recourse to the procedures laid down by Rule No. 1292 of 3 September 2010 on the protection of human dignity at the Council of Europe.
3. A person to whom this Rule applies and who believes that s/he has been subjected to retaliatory action (other than sexual or psychological harassment), may report the matter to the Director General of Administration for assistance and advice.
4. The Director General of Administration shall make a preliminary assessment of the credibility, verifiability and materiality of the circumstances of the case referred to him or her. If s/he has reasonable cause to believe that there has been a retaliatory action, s/he shall recommend to the Secretary General that measures be taken to verify the allegations of retaliatory action.
5. The Secretary General, if s/he agrees that there is reasonable cause to believe that there has been a retaliatory action, shall order that the allegations of retaliatory action be verified in accordance with the relevant internal regulatory instruments of the Council of Europe.
6. Pending completion of the inquiry the Secretary General may order any provisional measures to protect the alleged victim of retaliatory action. These must be suitable and strictly proportionate.
7. Where the retaliatory action is carried out by a person who is not a Secretariat member, the measures taken by the Secretary General to ensure the effective protection of the victim may include denying the perpetrator access to Council of Europe premises, ceasing collaboration between the Council of Europe and him or her and informing his or her employer or supervisory authority as the case may be.
8. A person seeking protection from retaliatory action in accordance with this Rule shall be duly informed of the status and outcome of the review in relation to the alleged retaliatory action.
Article 7 – Unfounded accusation
This Rule does not protect the transmission of allegations in relation to suspected fraud or corruption which the reporting person knows are incorrect, as transmission of such allegations would itself constitute a breach of the internal regulatory instruments of the Council of Europe.
Article 8 – Entry into force
This Rule shall enter into force on the first day of the month following its signature by the Secretary General.
Strasbourg, 10 January 2011
The Secretary General
1 The term designates staff members under Article 1 of the Staff Regulations, temporary staff members under the relevant Rules and seconded officials under Article 1a of the Regulations on secondment of international or national, regional or local officials to the Council of Europe.