Policy Statement by the Secretary General

on Awareness and Prevention of Fraud and Corruption

The Council of Europe is committed to the proper use of its funds and resources, the prevention of fraud and corruption and the protection of its reputation and interests.

I, the Secretary General, will therefore actively pursue a policy of zero tolerance and apply to the Organisation the principles that it recommends itself to state authorities as regards the fight against fraud and corruption.

The new Rule No. 1327 of 10 January 2011 on awareness and prevention of fraud and corruption and the other instruments designed to promote the open, transparent and fair functioning of the Organisation[1] constitute the basis of this policy.

All Secretariat members have a responsibility to respect the fundamental requirement of loyalty and integrity enshrined in the internal regulations of the Organisation. Fraud and corruption in any form is unacceptable. It will be neither tolerated nor excused and is liable to be sanctioned.

Managers will be expected to implement and maintain internal controls to prevent fraud and corruption in the areas of their responsibility. This includes, in particular, the identification and assessment of potential risk areas and the adoption of measures to mitigate such risks.

Furthermore, Secretariat members are expected to take appropriate preventative action by reporting reasonable suspicion of any misconduct they deem to be fraud or corruption. Other persons participating in the Organisation’s activities are also encouraged to report. At the same time transmission of knowingly false allegations in relation to suspected fraud or corruption shall be sanctioned.

Reports on suspected fraud or corruption will be examined and acted upon in accordance with Instruction No. 51 of 10 June 2006 on internal inquiries and Instruction No. 52 of 1 October 2005 – Internal Audit Charter with due regard to professional care, objectivity and discretion. Both incriminating and exonerating information will be examined. The Staff Committee will be informed of the opening of an inquiry and of the time-limit set for its completion. Confidentiality of the reporting person’s identity will be preserved to the maximum extent possible.

The Director of Internal Oversight will keep a register of all reports on suspected fraud or corruption. The register, which will not contain any personal data, will be accessible only by the External Auditor.

Retaliatory action against individuals who have reported suspected fraud or corruption or who have cooperated with an investigation shall be sanctioned. Anyone who believes him-/herself to be victim of retaliatory action, whether open or disguised, will be given effective protection in accordance with Rule No 1327.

Secretariat members are expected to adhere fully to the principles outlined in this policy statement and Rule No 1327, in the knowledge that integrity, incorruptibility and transparency are pre-requisites for the fulfilment of the Council of Europe’s mandate.

Strasbourg, 10 January  2011

Thorbjørn Jagland

Secretary General

[1] Financial Regulations and Supplementary Provisions of the Council of Europe, Rule No. 1282 of 18 October 2007 on the declaration of interests in the context of procurement, Rule No. 1296 of 18 December 2008 on the acceptance of fees, gifts, decorations or honours, invitations and other advantages from third parties, Rule No. 1312 of 6 May 2010 on the procurement procedures of the Council of Europe, the Guide to Good Practice – Purchasing, and the Charter of Professional Ethics.