The Diputación de Alicante and the Agency for the Prevention and Fight Against Fraud and Corruption of the Valencian Community (AVAF) have signed their first collaboration protocol with which the development of joint projects begins. The document was signed this afternoon by the first vice president and deputy for the area, Julia Parra, and the director of AVAF, Joan Llinares.
Parra explained that this agreement "marks a before and after and the beginning of a stage in which the two institutions will work hand in hand to promote activities that affect the prevention of fraud and corruption and in the defense of integrity and public ethics, an important step towards transparency and good management, the central and strategic axis of our actions».
For his part, Llinares stated that “the signing of this protocol with the Diputación de Alicante marks the beginning of a collaboration between both institutions to work on the prevention and fight against fraud and corruption. From the Agency we want to help the Valencian public institutions to create ethical frameworks and public integrity, thus complying with the requirements derived from the entry into force of the European Directive 1937/2019 on the protection of people who report corruption» .
The first action to be implemented as a result of this protocol will be to set up an external complaints mailbox that could be operational within two months. Work has already begun on this new resource that will be accessible from the Diputación's electronic headquarters and also through the Transparency Portal (https://abierta.diputacionalicante.es/).
The head of Transparency explained that, for practical purposes, "this means that those who are related to the Diputación de Alicante will have at their disposal a channel that will allow them, with a total guarantee of confidentiality, to inform AVAF directly of any action who consider that it violates the laws on matters related to the management developed by the institution”.
The director of the Agency has pointed out that "the Agency also has the Protection Statute for people who report corruption that allows it to offer protection against possible reprisals, as well as legal advice."
This tool is mainly aimed at the strategic areas of hiring, subsidies and access to the public function, which includes different profiles such as contractors, applicants for public aid or participants in personnel selection processes. The channel complies with the new applicable regulations and will allow any third party or institution employees to file complaints, with all the guarantees and maintaining their anonymity, so that an impartial body can resolve their claim.
In a later phase, the Diputación's Transparency area will implement the internal complaints channel, for which collaboration with AVAF will also be sought. This second initiative, which will be put into operation next year, is aimed at Provincial Council employees with the aim of implementing mechanisms to guarantee public integrity.
Likewise, after strengthening the relationship with AVAF, their advice will be available for other projects such as the development of the Diputación's code of ethics. «Our intention is, like AVAF, to create a collegiate body, which, apart from evaluating the application of the code of ethics, is aware of the internal complaints that are received; hence the importance of signing this protocol, which will have positive consequences for citizens and for the improvement of this institution", Julia Parra detailed.
Parra has highlighted that, since July 2019, "many of the challenges posed have been met with great effort, the first of which was to give greater visibility to the Transparency area, which lacked sufficient resources to achieve the necessary autonomy and develop powerful tools to publicize what we do from the Diputación».
In recent years, tools have been implemented to improve transparency and accountability with mechanisms that make all public information available to citizens and organizations. Through a digital platform and an application with direct and easy access, it has been possible that, in two clicks, any interested party can see from the set of payments managed by the Provincial Council to the status of budget execution. Significant progress has also been made to allow citizen participation and collect opinions and suggestions.
The greatest achievement in favor of the municipalities has been the implementation of the first line of aid to implement transparency and participation plans in the municipalities. In two years, 2021 and 20221, 850,000 euros will be invested in grants.