The plan, developed by the French Anti-Corruption Agency (Agence française anticorruption, AFA), sets primary objectives of the national anti-corruption policy for the years 2020-2022 and defines the key measures to achieve them.
1. The development of knowledge about corruption and the determination of major areas for corruption risks.
The National plan proposes to considerably increase the amount of data published by different public bodies in order to deepen the knowledge about corruption, and to intensify the efforts to analyse them with statistical methods with a view to better understand which areas are most affected by corruption.
Besides that, further work on enhancing data transparency will receive attention with the purpose to increase the control of civil society over public governance and to consequently enhance the confidence in institutions among the population and data sharing between different public bodies.
2. Anti-corruption training of civil servants.
According to the National plan, anti-corruption training of civil servants is a major component of the fight against corruption: public officials should be informed about the main corruption risks inherent in their activities in order to timely detect and prevent potential offences.
In this regard, the document proposes, in the first place, to organise anti-corruption training for the civil servants that are most exposed to corruption risks, in particular:
- individuals who make public policy decisions (members of the government and local government authorities, etc.);
- members of selection panels responsible for employing civil servants;
- members of parliament and local elected officials.
In addition, it is planned to train the employees participating in the detection of corruption offences:
- members of ministerial inspection bodies, officials responsible for the control over the compliance with ethical standards in the civil service, prefects, public auditors, diplomats, and employees of the internal control services responsible for detecting corruption;
- employees responsible for the control over commercial activities in such sectors as arms trade, nuclear power, information technologies, and others.
- employees of tax authorities that detect illicit transactions related to the bribery of foreign public officials.
3. Reinforced mechanisms of prevention and detection of corruption offences in all ministries, local government bodies and public entities.
The obligation to adopt internal measures to prevent and detect corruption in the federal ministries, local government bodies and public entities in France is provided for by article 3 of Law No. 2016-1691 of December 9, 2016 “On Transparency, the Fight against Corruption and Modernization of Economic Life” (hereinafter referred to as Law No. 2016-1691).
However, the control over the quality and effectiveness of anti-corruption measures in the federal ministries, undertaken by AFA in 2017, indicated that none of them had properly assessed corruption risks to develop effective anti-corruption policy, meanwhile the general procedure and the mechanisms for the prevention and detection of corruption (appointment of a staff member to control the compliance with ethical standards, establishment of the channels for reporting corruption cases, and the provision of internal audit) were in place in few ministries. According to a survey of the local government authorities, conducted by AFA in 2018, only 7.3% of them had adopted some measures for preventing corruption. At the same time only 3.5% of the servants of local government bodies and 1.5% of elected officials had undergone anti-corruption training. Therefore, the mechanisms for preventing corruption at the local level were largely unknown and unemployed, whilst anti-corruption training of local government and elected officials was at a very low level.
As a consequence, the French National Anti-Corruption Plan provides for the support to all ministries and their departments, as well as local government authorities and public entities as regards the development and introduction of the measures for preventing and detecting corruption so that they have met all obligations set by law by 2022:
- conduct the assessment of corruption risks;
- adopt a code of conduct;
- provide anti-corruption training;
- introduce a mechanism for assessing due diligence of third parties;
- design a system of internal control and assessment.
In order to achieve this objective it is planned to:
- undertake educational activities in ministries and local government bodies, initiated by AFA;
- appoint individuals responsible for the prevention of corruption in ministries and establish internal anti-corruption structures and mechanisms in ministries and local government bodies;
- conduct a new review of the adopted anti-corruption measures in the local government bodies in 2021.
4. The introduction of a system of anti-corruption measures in organizations of the private sector.
Law No. 2016-1691 obliges organizations to adopt measures for preventing corruption. The failure to comply with this obligation is subject to administrative liability. AFA provides guidance to organizations: the agency has already issued a number of materials designed to assist companies in the development of anti-corruption measures, for instance, the practical guide on anti-corruption verifications in the context of mergers and acquisitions. The National Plan provides for a continued support of organizations in the development and introduction of such measures with a view to ensure that their size, resources and specific risks are taken into consideration also by raising their awareness about the requirements set by law and administrative regulations.
5. The provision of integrity and transparency measures in sports organizations.
The National Plan provides for considerable efforts to fight corruption in sport also in the event of the organization of the large-scale international sports competitions that will be held in France in the coming years: the 2023 Rugby World Cup, and the 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games. The measures to be implemented include, in particular:
- incorporation of provisions for preventing and detecting corruption in the documents regarding the organization of large-scale sporting events, and the establishment of the mechanisms for countering corruption directly in the governing bodies of sports organizations;
- regular inspections of the governing bodies of sports organizations and other stakeholders by AFA;
- formulation of guiding ethical principles to prevent corruption in sport and support for sports organizations in developing and introducing anti-corruption policies corresponding to their size, resources and specific risks.
6. Enhanced effectiveness of the system of penalties for corruption.
A global quality and quantity analysis of the criminal and administrative sanctions and disciplinary penalties, which are in place, is planned to have been carried out by 2021 to assess the effectiveness of the legal acts that already exist and the sanctions against corruption offences with a view to further improve them and to systematize the findings.
7. Enhanced international anti-corruption cooperation.
The French National Anti-Corruption Plan also defines the priority areas of international anti-corruption cooperation. These include:
- coordination of activities regarding the implementation of different international agreements with a view to minimize possible legal collisions and duplication of penalties;
- promotion of the Network of Corruption Prevention Authorities (NCPA);
- support of foreign countries also in ongoing international investigations to step up the fight against corruption;
- inclusion of anti-corruption issues in the priorities for France’s action in the framework of international forums and events.