Date: 30 Jul 2009 - 31 Jul 2009
Venue: Summerstrand Inn, Marine Drive, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth
The Anti-Corruption Learning Network (ACLN) provides a platform for anti-corruption practitioners in the public sector to share experiences, knowledge and other good practices in the fight against corruption. Furthermore, the ACLN affords anti-corruption practitioners and decision makers in the public sector an opportunity to deliberate on issues of common interest and devise systems and measures to address these concerns.
The ACLN seeks to encourage public sector institutions in all spheres of government to showcase practical measures taken to fight corruption. This will allow departments that are yet to establish the requisite capacity to learn from their counterparts and ensure compliance with Strategy requirements.
The ACLN was launched under the theme "Increasing Capacity to Fight Corruption in the Public Sector". It was attended by about 160 officials from all spheres of government. The ACLN is hosted to achieve the following objectives:
About 200 officials from all spheres of government are expected to participate in the 2nd Session of the ACLN. In order to ensure that the ACLN remains relevant for participants and to promote knowledge exchange across all spheres, representation will be drawn from the following members:
It is envisaged that in the future, participation of social partners will be explored to ensure common approach by all sectors of society in the fight corruption.
Outcomes of the 2nd session
The 2nd Session of the ACLN intends to achieve the following short-term outcomes:
At the end the 2nd Session of the ACLN, the Anti-corruption Coordinating Committee (ACCC) will review if these outcomes were achieved and provide suggestions for improving the ACLN.
The theme for the 2nd session of the ACLN is: "Integrated and holistic approach in the fight against corruption: Revisiting the implementation of anti-corruption Strategies in the public sector"
Although both the Public Service Anti-Corruption Strategy (PSACS) and Local Government Anti-Corruption Strategy (LGACS) require an integrated and holistic approach, the implementation of these strategies has been undertaken in a fragmented and piecemeal approach. Most departments in the public service are yet to establish some capacity to implement minimum anti-corruption capacity (MACC) requirements. Often departments are reactive to problems and challenges. In 2006, the dpsa published guidelines for implementing MACC requirements, which require departments to consider the four elements of prevention, detection, investigation and resolution in dealing with corrupt practices. Various studies conducted indicate that although capacity within national and provincial level has improved, there are still gaps. However, local government lacks adequate capacity to deal with corruption.
The plenary session will address the theme for the 2nd Session of ACLN by looking at the four components in the fight against corruption (prevention, detection, investigation and resolution) with the view to promote an integrated approach. The discussions at the plenary session will also set the tone for further deliberations of sub-themes during commissions. Specific case studies will be presented in the commissions, where departments and municipalities will share information about their practices and demonstrate how they use the integrated approach to fighting corruption at organisational level.
Existing measures as they relate to the integrated approach in the fight against corruption will be popularized. This will include the use of the National Anti-Corruption Hotline (NACH) as a preventative and detecting measure, agencies to approach when reporting suspected cases of corruption, the role of the various departments and agencies in the fight against corruption. Plenary will also explore the use of a homogenous approach in the application of anti-corruption measures in provinces to ensure a common approach in fighting corruption.
Coordinating structures responsible for the implementation of both the PSACS and the LGACS respectively will be afforded an opportunity to provide progress in as far as the implementation of the Strategies is concerned.
Sub-themes to be discussed in commissions
Detecting corruption through the use of whistle blowing mechanisms
The PSACS calls for the enhancement, at national level, of mechanisms to report wrongdoing and to protect whistleblowers. It further requires departments and government institutions to implement internal whistle blowing mechanisms that allow for confidential reporting of suspected cases of corruption as well as protect whistle blowers. This sub-theme will explore, through the presentation of case studies and interactive discussions, how departments are using internal mechanisms or techniques to report corrupt activities. The presentations will focus on the successes, challenges and shortcomings of these mechanisms.
Managing conflicts of interest in the workplace
The concept of conflict of interest has been sufficiently explored in the public sector and a number of debates have been raised about enforcement of conflicts of interest measures. In 2008, the dpsa developed a Conflict of Interest Framework for the Public Service as a way of creating a standardised approach to managing conflicts of interest. The Framework will be presented to Cabinet for approval during June 2009. In the absence of a national policy for managing conflicts of interest, departments and some municipalities have come up with innovative ways to prevent corruption through instituting conflicts of interest measures. The dpsa acknowledges that some departments and municipalities have moved ahead in terms of putting in place internal mechanisms to manage conflicts of interest in their workplace. Presentations of cases studies will provide participants with insight on practical considerations when implementing conflict of interest measures.
Investigating corrupt activities using both internal and external resources
A number of allegations of corrupt activities are reported on the National Anti-corruption Hotline (NACH). The Public Service Commission (PSC), which manages the NACH, normally refers these cases to departments for investigation. At local government, municipalities use own measures to detect wrongdoing. Once a problem has been identified, investigative action is normally taken. Some organisations have capacity to conduct their own investigations, while others outsource this function. Participants will exchange information on how some departments and municipalities investigate corruption committed by their employees. The presentation will also highlight briefly how corruption was detected and resolved.
Communication and awareness as a preventative measure
The importance of sensitising and educating employees about corruption has become increasingly important. There is a need to share knowledge and experiences on how communication and awareness campaigns at organisational level could be effectively used to prevent corruption. The commission will explore how departments and municipalities are implementing measures to raise awareness and communicate messages on corruption. Presentations will highlight the successes, challenges and shortcomings of the campaigns. Departments and municipalities participating in the 2nd Session of the ACLN will be asked to display their communication and awareness material at various workshops.
Format for the 2nd session of ACLN
The 2nd Session of ACLN will be held over a two-day period. The first day will entail a plenary session followed by four break-away sessions. The second day will see the continuation of break-away sessions which will culminate in a closing session at plenary wherein various reports will be tabled.
In order to facilitate sharing and learning, the format of the 2nd Session of ACLN will be as follows:
The opening and the closing sessions will be done in plenary sessions. The opening session will entail mainly the welcoming speeches by the Mayor and the Premier. The Deputy Minister/Minister for Public Service and Administration will give a keynote address. The second part of the opening session will see presentations by three experts from national, provincial and local government levels, which broadly address the theme.
In the closing session, various reports will presented by rapporteurs. Reports will be discussed by all participants. At the end, the Mayor or Premier will close the 2nd Session of ACLN.
The sub-themes will be discussed in four commissions at which participants will be allowed to engage substantively with the sub-themes. Each commission will have at least three speakers/presenters who will share with participants how their organisations are implementing the various measures. After each presentation, a question and answer session will follow at which participants will be afforded an opportunity to engage with speakers. Rapporteurs will summarize discussions and provide a report to plenary on key issues raised and agreed on.