Chapter 6. Strengthening Argentina’s disciplinary regime for greater accountability

This Chapter assesses the disciplinary regime for public sector employees in the executive branch of Argentina, focusing on duties and obligations related to integrity. It analyses the relevant legal framework and institutional responsibilities as well as the use of data and information related to the disciplinary system. The Chapter acknowledges the efforts to improve cooperation among some of the relevant institutions (Treasury Attorney General Office, Prosecutor Office for Administrative Investigations, Office of the Comptroller General) as well as to better coordinate disciplinary offices. At the same time, it highlights the need for a more coherent legal and institutional framework in order to prevent impunity and to support accountability and legitimacy of the integrity system of Argentina as a whole.

    

6.1. Introduction

Enforcing the integrity rules and standards is a necessary element to prevent impunity among public officials and to ensure the legitimacy of the integrity system as a whole. Without effective responses to integrity violations, and the application of sanctions in a fair, objective and timely manner, an integrity system is not able to ensure accountability and to build the necessary credibility for integrity rules and frameworks to deter people from carrying out misconducts. Furthermore, a consistent application of rules within the public sector contributes to build citizens’ confidence in the government’s ability to tackle corruption effectively and – more generally – to consolidate trust in the government leaders and institutions. In this context, disciplinary systems play a key role within the public integrity system because they ensure compliance of the integrity rules and values by public officials, they help identify risk areas where efforts are most needed, and they punish breaches in the exercise of entrusted public power by citizens and the state. Disciplinary procedures have the function to address offences affecting public trust and damaging the state’s reputation that - if not properly sanctioned - create a sense of impunity undermining the legitimacy of the state and the principle of the rule of law. This is a risk in Argentina, where interviews during fact-finding mission expressed serious concerns on the effectiveness of the disciplinary system and on the accountability of public officials to the integrity framework, fuelling a general sense of impunity both in the public sector and in society as a whole.

Public officials in Argentina can be liable under different regimes, including the civil, criminal, administrative/disciplinary and political ones (Gordillo, 2016[1]). Although all the regimes have their relevance and function in holding public officials responsible for their acts, the present chapter focuses on the administrative regime, which is based on the assumption that public officials, and those firms contracted with (or seeking to be contracted with) the public sector, have a number of obligations unique to their status. Generally, these obligations refer to constitutional values and duties such as to need to demonstrate fidelity to the Constitution and legal order of the country, impartiality, personal integrity and propriety in interacting with the public, their superiors and colleagues (Cardona, 2003[2]). In other words, administrative disciplinary regimes are established under the premise that the violation of such principles necessitates a distinct sanctioning system that is tied to their status and obligations as public officials (OECD, 2017[3]).

6.2. Creating a more comprehensive and effective disciplinary framework

6.2.1. The application of the disciplinary regime should be formally extended to all categories of public officials in Argentina.

The public employment framework of the Argentinian public administration is governed by the National Public Employment Framework Law no. 25.164 (Ley Marco de Regulación de Empleo Público Nacional, or LMREPN) and implementing regulation (Decree 14121/2002), which define the general regulatory framework of the public service, including the nature of the public employment relationship that in Argentina can take four forms, namely:

  • Stability regime (régimen de estabilidad) for those entering the public service through competition;

  • Contractors regime (régimen de contrataciones) for those working for a fixed amount of time to perform services having a transitory or seasonal character;

  • Advisors of superior institutions (personal de gabinete de las autoridades superiores) for those carrying out advice or administrative assistance functions;

  • A special regime regulated by the Executive Power for those appointed ad honorem.

The LMREPN only applies to those belonging to the stability regime, while those under the contractors and advisors regime should be subject to specific regulations, which are not in place. However, two institutions playing key roles in the disciplinary proceedings, the Treasury Attorney General Office (Procuración del Tesoro de la Nación) and the Prosecutor Office for Administrative Investigations (Procuraduría de Investigaciones Administrativas, PIA) have issued rulings (dictamenes) extending the application of the disciplinary regime to any category of public official: on the one hand, the Treasury Attorney General Office (Procuración del Tesoro de la Nación), which coordinates the activity of disciplinary offices in public entities, with Resolution of 14 March 2017; on the other hand the Prosecutor Office for Administrative Investigations (Procuraduría de Investigaciones Administrativas, PIA), which can intervene in any disciplinary proceeding or initiate one by its own initiative, with Resolution of 8 April 2016, which established that all those who carry out functions in the public administration should be subject to disciplinary proceedings since it is the only way to comply with the constitutional guarantees on due process and on the right to defence.

Although one should welcome the jurisprudential attempt to extend the scope of application of the disciplinary regime to any category of public officials, interviews during fact-finding mission highlighted that such approach would not ensure legal certainty in so far as such rulings do not have the force of law and could be overruled in the future by a court giving a different interpretation of the currently unclear legal framework. For this reason, Argentina should amend the LMREPN and ensure a consistent disciplinary response to all categories of public officials. In doing so, it could consider the approach followed by Peru whose functional administrative disciplinary regime applies to public officials and servants which Law 27785(Ley Orgánica del Sistema Nacional de Control y de la Contraloría General de la República) as anybody who, independently of the labour regime, has a labour, contractual or any other nature’s relationship with any of the entities, and exercise functions therein. (OECD, 2017[4]).

6.2.2. Temporary staff working in disciplinary offices should be allowed to prepare cases.

A major impediment of the legal framework which also concerns the status of public officials concerns one of the procedural requirements included in Decree 467/99 on Administrative Investigations Regulation (Reglamento de Investigaciones Administrativas). It defines the rules on disciplinary investigations applying to all staff under the Basic Legal Regime of the public sector. In particular, according to its Article 6, the preparation (instrucción) of the case takes place within the competent disciplinary office and should be under the responsibility of a public official belonging to the stability regime.

Although this requirement can be waived on ad-hoc basis by Treasury Attorney General Office following a request for authorization, during fact-finding mission interviewed officials from that institution identified it as one of the most common challenges raised by the heads of disciplinary offices to carry out their function. Considering the burdensome process to obtain authorization and its impact in daily practice, Argentina could amend the Administrative Investigations Regulation to modify this requirement. In particular, disciplinary offices not having a public official belonging to the permanent regime should be allowed to exceptionally rely on those officials in the office appointed under Article 9 of the LMREPN and having the appropriate experience to carry out disciplinary proceedings. For this purpose, considering that the Regulation is a presidential decree, the Treasury Attorney General Office – which is formally dependant from the Office of the President (Law no. 24.667) - could take the lead and propose the necessary amendments. In doing that, it should consult with disciplinary offices and take the chance to consider any additional challenge and proposal related to the Administrative Investigations Regulation. For example, interviews during fact-finding mission stressed the need to ensure the functional independence of disciplinary proceedings established in Article 15 of Decree 467/1999 and, therefore, the full discretion in the discharge of their functions. The discussion with disciplinary offices on the Regulation should also concern how to improve the procedures and mechanisms to identify the elements indicating possible fiscal damage caused by the conduct under consideration. Furthermore, Treasury Attorney General Office should discuss the proposed text with relevant institutions participating in the Integrity coordination Working Group (Mesa de Integridad) created by the Cabinet of Minister Office in 2017 to improve coordination of Argentina’s integrity system (see Chapter 1).

6.2.3. The ongoing revision of the Public Ethics Law could improve consistency between the existing fragmented integrity framework and the disciplinary system.

The body of rules which public officials should respect in the exercise of their duty and whose breach generates disciplinary responsibility is scattered across various instruments. The LMREPN includes a list of duties (Article 23) and prohibitions (Article 24), which are then complemented by those established in the collective labour agreements which consider the specificities of the activities. Additional duties and prohibitions related to integrity originate from the Ethics Code (Código de Ética de la Función Pública, Decree 41/1999) and the Public Ethics Law (Ley de Ética en el Ejercicio de la Función Pública, Law 25.188) (Box ‎6.1).

Box ‎6.1. Integrity-related duties and principles for public officials in Argentina

The specific rules and principles which apply to public officials in the field of integrity can be mainly found in three instruments:

Firstly, according to the LMREPN, it is prohibited:

  • To sponsor administrative procedures related to matters of third parties that are linked to their functions.

  • To manage, administer advice, sponsor, represent or provide remunerated or unpaid services to apparent or juridical persons who manage or exploit administrative concessions or privileges at the national, provincial, and municipal level, or who are suppliers or contractors thereof.

  • To receive directly or indirectly benefits derived from contracts, concessions or franchises that are celebrated or granted by the ministry, dependency or entity at the national, provincial or municipal level.

  • To maintain relationships implying benefits or obligations with entities directly supervised by the ministry, agency or entity where the public official is providing services.

  • To rely directly or indirectly on faculties or prerogatives inherent in their functions for purposes beyond that function or for political purposes.

  • To accept presents, gifts or other benefits or obtain advantages of any kind connected with the performance of their duties.

  • To represent, assist or intervene in extrajudicial disputes against the National Public Administration.

  • To carry out any action or omission involving discrimination based on race, religion, nationality, opinion, sex or any other personal or social condition or circumstance.

  • To make improper use or use for particular purposes of the state property.

Secondly, the Ethics Code contains two lists of principles, “general” and “particular”, which include - among others - probity, prudence, justice, temperance, suitability, responsibility, aptitude, respect for legality, evaluation, accuracy, discretion, transparency, obedience, independence of criterion, equality, equal treatment, proper exercise of the position and correct use of state assets and information acquired by their functions. It also contains sections on gifts and the asset declaration regime.

Thirdly, the Public Ethics Law includes a number of ethics-related obligations laid down in its Article 2:

  • To strictly comply with and assist other in complying with the provisions of the National Constitution, the laws, and regulations as well as to defend the republican and democratic system of government;

  • To perform duties abiding by and respecting the principles and ethical standards established by this law: honesty, probity, rectitude, good faith and republican austerity;

  • To safeguard the interests of the State in all their acts aimed at the satisfaction of general welfare, and consequently granting a privilege to public interest over individual interest;

  • To refrain from receiving any undue personal benefit related to the performance, delay or omission of any act inherent to their functions, and to refrain from imposing special conditions which may lead to it;

  • To justify acts, and to show the greatest transparency in all decisions adopted without refraining to provide all information, unless a law or the public interest clearly require that;

  • To protect and preserve the property of the State and to employ its assets only for authorized purposes. To refrain from using the information obtained during the performance of public duties to carry out activities not related to the public functions or allowing the use of such information for the benefit of private interests;

  • To refrain from using the State’s premises and services for individual benefit or for the benefit of relatives, close friends or any other person not linked to the public function with the objective to back up or promote some product, service or business;

  • To comply with the principles of transparency, equity, competition and reasonability in carrying out public procurements acts;

  • To refrain from participating in any act that may lead to incompatibility pursuant to the law of civil procedure.

The Public Ethics Law also includes the obligation to present asset declarations within the deadline, whose breach (after giving a first notification) represents a serious breach and leads to a corresponding disciplinary sanction (Article 8). For those not complying with this obligation when leaving the office, the sanction is represented by the impossibility to take a public function in the future (Article 9). As for conflict of interest, the Public Ethics Law provides for a specific set of rules and, in particular, lists a number of incompatibilities and obligations for the public official in case of being in one of the situations illustrated in its Article 13.

Source: LMREPN; Law 25.188; Decree 41/1999.

The fragmentation of rules is coupled with a different subjective scope of application for each instrument. While the LMREPN and the Code of Ethics apply to the Executive Power only, i.e. to all entities of the National Public Administration, the provisions from the Public Ethics Law apply to any person performing a public function, “at all levels and hierarchies, in a permanent or transitory manner, by popular election, direct appointment, by competition or by any other legal means, including all magistrates, officials and State employees” (Article 1).

Considering the on-ongoing revision of the Public Ethics Law, Argentina could take the opportunity to harmonise the list of integrity-related duties and responsibilities to increase legal certainty and favour understanding and alignment with the expected ethical behaviours, including during training and awareness raising activities.

This could be achieved in two ways: firstly, the revised law should ensure formal and substantial coherence with the LMREPN and the Ethics Code by making explicit reference to these closely-related instruments and avoiding any inconsistency. With regards to gifts, for instance, while the LMREPN and the Public Ethics Law prohibit accepting any of them, the Ethics Code provides for an exception and Decree 1179/2016 – which introduces an ad-hoc regime - lists two exceptions (see Chapter 3). Secondly, the revised law could provide a more explicit link with accountability mechanisms and responsibilities for breaches of the ethical rules as done in the Australian Public Service Act of 1999, whose Article 15 clearly states that “An Agency Head may impose […] sanctions on an APS employee in the Agency who is found […] to have breached the Code of Conduct”, which is provided for in Article 13.

With specific regards to conflict of interest, no disciplinary sanction is currently envisaged in case of breaching the related incompatibility regime and obligations, the only consequence being the nullity of the corresponding act (Box ‎6.1). While simplifying the understanding over duties and prohibition applicable to public officials, Argentina could also introduce an additional duty to declare a conflict of interest situation, whose breach could lead to disciplinary proceedings and sanctions (on top of other criminal sanctions the subsequent conduct may lead to), similarly to the what is already envisaged for not presenting asset declaration on time (Articles 8 and 9 of the Public Ethics Law). This would align to the practice of OECD member countries such as Portugal (Box ‎6.2), where the most utilised sanctions for breaching the conflict-of-interest policy are disciplinary and criminal prosecution, along with the nullity of affected decisions and contracts as provided for by Argentina already.

Box ‎6.2. Setting proportional sanctions for breaching conflict-of-interest policies

The nature of the position is taken into consideration when countries determine appropriate personal consequences for breaching the conflict-of-interest policy. The following list of personal consequences indicates the variety of severe sanctions applied to different categories of officials in Portugal:

  • loss of mandate for political and senior public office holders, advisors or technical consultants

  • immediate cessation of office and return of all sums which have been received for ministerial advisors

  • three-year suspension of senior political duties and senior public duties for senior civil servants

  • loss of office in case of managerial staff

  • fine and inactivity or suspension for civil servants and contractual staff.

Source: (OECD, 2004[5]).

By introducing sanctions related to conflict of interest disclosure, Argentina should also ensure they are coherent with the objectives set for the overall disclosure system, (see Chapter 4), and that they are dissuasive and create a deterrent effect. Regardless of their criminal or administrative nature, in order to ensure their effectiveness Argentina should introduce sanctions for its disclosure system that are proportional, enforceable, timely and visible. (Figure ‎6.1).

Figure ‎6.1. Components of effective sanctions for the disclosure system
picture

Source: (Rossi, Pop and Berger, 2017[6]).

6.2.4. Argentina could introduce economic sanctions for public officials as well as administrative sanctions for private entities.

The typologies of disciplinary sanctions in Argentina are contained in Chapter VII the LMREPN, which defines the features of the disciplinary regime, including the rights of employees in disciplinary proceedings (e.g. ne bis in idem, due process), preventive measures, statute of limitations, and relationship with criminal sanctions. With specific regards to sanctions, Argentina provides for the following typologies, which are then linked to a number of underlying causes (Table ‎6.1):

  • Caution (apercibimiento), with no greater effect than to constitute a precedent when it comes to deciding the application of a new sanction, and to be taken into account in relation to career development.

  • Suspension (suspensión) between 1 to 30 days with suspension of salary during the corresponding time. Furthermore, the aggregate sum of days of suspension during a period of 12 months, can lead to dismissal or discharge.

  • Dismissal and discharge (cesantía and exoneración) affect the right to the stability of public employment, as they will end the employment relationship. The difference between the two is the time needed to be rehabilitated and access in the future to a post in the public service.

Table ‎6.1. Grounds for imposing disciplinary sanctions

Caution (apercibimiento) or suspension (suspensión)

Dismissal (cesantía)

Discharge (exoneración)

• Repeated non-compliance with the established schedule.

• Unjustified absences that do not exceed ten (10) discontinuous days in the immediate twelve-month period and provided they do not constitute abandonment of tasks.

• Failure to comply with the duties established in art. 23 of the LMREPN, unless the gravity and magnitude of the facts justify the application of the dismissal.

• Unjustified absences exceeding 10 (ten) discontinuous days, in the previous twelve (12) months.

• Abandonment of service, which will be considered consummated when the agent registers more than five (5) continuous absences without cause justifying it and was previously summoned reliably to resume his duties.

• Repeated infractions in the performance of their duties, which have given rise to thirty (30) days of suspension in the previous twelve months.

• Civil competition or non-causal bankruptcy, except in cases duly justified by the administrative authority.

• Serious failure to comply with the duties established in articles 23 and 24 of the LMREPN.

• A criminal offense not related to the Public Administration, when due to its circumstances it affects the prestige of the function or agent.

• Poor qualifications as a result of evaluations that imply ineffective performance for three (3) consecutive years or four (4) alternates in the last ten (10) years of service (in spite of adequate training opportunities for the performance of the tasks).

• Final conviction for an offense against the National, Provincial or Municipal Public Administration.

• Serious misconduct that materially damages the Public Administration.

• Loss of citizenship.

• Violation of the prohibitions provided for in Article 24 of the LMREPN.

• Receipt as principal or accessory sanction the absolute or special disqualification for the public function.

Source: LMREPN.

Although it is not possible to assess statistics on the disciplinary regime as a whole given the lack of comprehensive data or assessment of the current system, Argentina has limited typologies of sanctions compared to other countries. Among the measures Argentina could put in place to improve its legal framework, it could consider expanding the range of available sanctions and introduce additional ones having economic relevance, as done in other OECD and non-OECD countries (Box ‎6.3). By proportionally affecting the income of public officials, these can in fact provide an additional disincentive to carry out misconducts.

Box ‎6.3. Administrative disciplinary sanctions in selected OECD member and partner countries

OECD member and partner countries provide for these and additional types of sanctions including:

  • Fines.

  • Demotion in rank (France, Germany and the United States).

  • Salary reduction (Germany, the Netherlands) or withholding of future periodic salary increases (the Netherlands, the United Kingdom).

  • Compulsory transfer with obligation to change residence (France, Spain, the United Kingdom).

  • Compulsory retirement (France).

  • Reduction or loss of pension rights (Germany – for retired officials, and Brazil).

  • Reduction in right to holiday or personal leave (the Netherlands).

Sources: (OECD, 2017[3]); (Cardona, 2003[2]).

Furthermore, in view of promoting greater ownership and recognition amongst the private sector about their shared responsibility in embodying the society’s integrity values (see Chapter 8 ), Argentina could introduce administrative sanctions for private entities involved in corruption cases, thereby complementing the regime of corporate criminal responsibility introduced with Law 27401 of 2017 by addressing cases that not reach the criminal relevance, especially in the field of public procurement.

Argentina could introduce these sanctions and the necessary procedural modifications by revising Decree 467/99 on Administrative Investigations Regulation. In doing that, Argentina could consider similar regimes which are already in place in the country (e.g. the labour regime regulated by Law no. 18.694) as well as the example of Mexico, where some parts of its General Law on Administrative Responsibilities do not only apply to public officials, but also to any firm or private individual contracting with the public sector (Box ‎6.4).

Box ‎6.4. Sanctioning private entities within the disciplinary regime in Mexico

Article 81 of the General Law on Administrative Responsibilities outlines sanctions for individuals (who are not officials) and firms involved in public sector activities (such as through a public procurement procedure). It states that private individuals may be sanctioned with:

  • An economic penalty that may reach up to two times worth the benefits obtained or, in case of not having obtained them, for the equivalent of the amount of 100 to 150 000 times the daily value of the unit of measure; and update.

  • Temporary disqualification from participating in acquisitions, leases, services or work for a period of not less than three months.

  • Compensation for damages and losses caused to the federal, local or municipal administration, or to the assets of public entities.

On top of that, firms and corporations may face the following sanctions:

  • An economic penalty that can reach up to two times worth the benefits obtained, and in case not obtained, for the equivalent of the amount of 1 000 to 1.5 million times the daily value of the unit of measure.

  • Temporary disqualification to participate in acquisitions, leases, services or works for a period of not less than three months nor more than ten years.

  • The suspension of activities, for a period of not less than three months nor more than three years, which will consist in detaining, deferring or temporarily depriving individuals of their business, economic, contractual or business activities because they are linked to faults.

  • Administrative penalties provided for in this law.

  • Dissolution of the respective company, which will consist of the loss of the legal capacity of the corporations.

  • Compensation for damages and losses caused to the federal, local or municipal administration, or to the assets of public entities.

Source: (OECD, 2017[3]).

6.3. Promoting cooperation and exchange of information

6.3.1. The Treasury Attorney General Office could introduce mechanisms to further support coordination and communication with disciplinary offices.

Disciplinary offices (oficina de sumarios), the Ministry-level bodies which are in charge of initiating and building disciplinary cases either on their own initiative (ex oficio) or following a report, are the centre of the disciplinary system in so far as they have the responsibility to ensure fair and objective proceedings in line with Decree 467/99 on Administrative Investigations Regulation. Although being functionally independent in their activities (Decree 467/99), disciplinary offices are hierarchically dependant from a Ministry’s secretary or sub-secretary (secretarías or sub-secretarías) and they are supervised by the Treasury Attorney General Office, that receives updates on cases every six months, organises meetings to improve their activities, provides them technical advice, and carries out occasional audits to check their compliance with legal procedures. While these activities are key to oversee and monitor the activities of disciplinary offices, interviews and information gathered during fact-finding mission revealed that these activities are not organized on a permanent basis and they rather take place irregularly: with regards to meetings, two have been organised in 2017; as for consultation, it was estimated by the Treasury Attorney General Office that they receive approximately 10 requests for advice per month; in relation to audits, only 1 has been conducted in 2017, and none in 2016.

Ensuring oversight on and coordination among disciplinary offices in ministries is key to improve the effectiveness of case-management as well to address their challenges and exchange best practices. Considering the key role of the Treasury Attorney General Office in guiding the action of the disciplinary offices, its oversight function could be enhanced by further supporting and coordinating them. While one can welcome the initiative to connect the disciplinary offices and the Treasury Attorney General Office by means of an instant messaging application group, representatives from disciplinary offices interviewed during fact-finding mission saw with favour the possibility to institutionalise such coordination and create a formal network of disciplinary offices and improve communication with the Treasury Attorney General Office. For this purpose, it could consider the experience of Brazil’s Office of the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU), whose National Disciplinary Board oversees the implementation of the centralised federal executive branch’s disciplinary system (Sistema de Correição do Poder Executivo Federal, or SisCor) and coordinates the sectional units located within federal agencies (corregedorias seccionais) through various means, including through a Disciplinary Proceedings Management System (Sistema de Gestão de Processos Disciplinares, CGU-PAD) and Coordination Commission (Comissão de Coordenação de Correição) (Box ‎6.5).

Box ‎6.5. Brazil’s National Disciplinary Board and SisCor

The disciplinary arrangements for public civil servants of Brazil fall under the remit of the Office of the Comptroller General of the Union (CGU), houses the Internal Control Secretariat, Transparency and Corruption Prevention Secretariat, the Ombudsman Office and the National Disciplinary Board.

Prior to the establishment of the National Disciplinary Board (Corregedoria-Geral da União, or CRG) in 2005, the responsibility of disciplinary and integrity-related activities were fragmented across federal government agencies, subject to variation in their application and impact. The lack of central co-ordination and trained staff needed for consistent disciplinary action were the main culprits contributing to costly and lengthy processes and public distrust in the objectivity and effectiveness of disciplinary measures.

The National Disciplinary Board was established with the responsibility of overseeing the implementation of the centralised federal executive branch’s disciplinary system – the SisCor. Activities under the SisCor are related to investigation of irregularities by civil servants and enforcement of applicable penalties. The SisCor is endowed with legal powers to supervise and correct any ongoing disciplinary procedures and to apply sanctions through its 150 employees across the central department, 20 sectoral units and 47 sectional units located within federal agencies (corregedorias seccionais).

picture

The centralisation of oversight under SisCor has been deemed as one driver in improving the effectiveness of the disciplinary regime as well as consistency in the application of sanctions. Indeed, the SisCor has trained almost 12 000 civil servants, which has been mirrored by a substantial increase in investigative capacity and the number of civil servants currently under investigation, an increase in the number of expulsive sanctions applied and a reduction in the annulment and reinstatement rates.

One of the pillar of CGU’s coordination function is the Disciplinary Proceedings Management System (Sistema de Gestão de Processos Disciplinares, CGU-PAD), a software allowing to store and make available, in a fast and secure way, the information about the disciplinary procedures instituted within public entities. The CGU-PAD, which has reduced processing times by 20%, is managed in an integrated manner among the entities of the Federal Executive Branch along the following lines:

  • Central body (CGR): Responsible for the implementation, update, maintenance and management of the CGU-PAD. It establishes procedures for the correct use of the system and elaborates manuals, guides and tools to support and training to the users (http://www.cgu.gov.br/assuntos/atividade-disciplinar/cgu-pad).

  • Registration bodies within entities or organs (Órgãos cadastradores): They are responsible for the local management of the system regulating the access, registration and use of information under its competence. In order to carry out these actions, each ministry appointed a coordinator and eventual deputy coordinators.

With the information available in the CGU-PAD, public managers can monitor and control disciplinary processes, identify critical points, construct risk maps and establish guidelines for preventing and tackling corruption and other breaches of administrative nature.

An additional mechanism to promote coherence and coordination among entities is the Coordination Commission (Comissão de Coordenação de Correição), which acts as an advisory body and aims to promote the integration and to uniform the understanding of the organs and units of the disciplinary system across the Federal Executive branch.

The Commission is chaired by the head of the CGU and is composed of CGU representatives as well as sectorial disciplinary units and some disciplinary units from ministries. The representatives of the disciplinary units are appointed by the head of the CGU.

Source: (OECD, 2017[4]); CGU’s website, http://www.cgu.gov.br/assuntos/atividade-disciplinar (accessed on 23 November 2017).

In fostering communication and coordination with and among entities, the Treasury Attorney General Office should also involve – to extent relevant – the Prosecutor Office for Administrative Investigations (Procuraduría de Investigaciones Administrativas, PIA) which also plays a central role in disciplinary cases as it is the entity that should be notified of cases by disciplinary offices for possible intervention pursuant to the Administrative Investigations Regulation. In this context, there could be room for synergies and mutual learning since the PIA has been increasingly organising meetings with disciplinary offices starting from 2015 and it has developed a case management and follow-up system (PIAnet) in collaboration with the Attorney General Office. This system allows to easily access a large amount of documents (around 34 000) related to disciplinary proceedings as well as to monitor cases and to evaluate the performance, thereby supporting the PIA’s General Coordination Department in managing investigation teams and in monitoring all cases on behalf of the National Prosecutor (PIA, 2017[7]).

6.3.2. All the institutions participating in disciplinary proceedings could create a formal working group to enhance coordination among them.

Disciplinary proceedings in Argentina can be an articulated process involving several actors and institutions. In particular, two different procedures can take place depending on the seriousness of the breach and typology of sanction. On the one hand, for alleged breaches leading to minor sanctions - i.e caution or a suspension for maximum 5 days (or, in some special cases, a suspension for more than 5 days and dismissal) - the applicable regime is contained in the LMREPN and regulatory decree no. 25.164, providing for a simplified regime which does not imply the building of the summary proceedings (instruir un sumario). On the other hand, for alleged breaches leading to major sanctions - i.e. remaining cases of suspension for more than 5 days, dismissal and discharge - the specific procedure of the administrative proceedings is laid down in Decree 467/99 on Administrative Investigations Regulation, which details the rules on administrative investigations applying to all staff under the LMREPN, to teachers under special regulation, as well as to those who do not have a special regime on investigations and when decided by the Executive Power. During the course of the proceedings provided for by this regime, the following institutions may intervene, namely:

  • The Treasury Attorney General Office (Procuración del Tesoro de la Nación), which generally speaking is in charge of performing a wide range of legal advisory services to the Executive Power. Among them, its National Directorate of Summary and Administrative Investigations (Dirección Nacional de Sumarios e Investigaciones Administrativas) is responsible for conducting administrative disciplinary proceedings involving senior public officials (so-called categories A and B with executive functions regardless of the employment relationship with the State), The Directorate also conducts audits of disciplinary departments, provide them advice and acts as the “interpretation authority” of the Administrative Investigation Regulation.

  • The Prosecutor Office for Administrative Investigations (Procuraduría de Investigaciones Administrativas, PIA) is the body within the Attorney General’s office (Ministerio Publico) responsible – among other things - for investigating administrative misconduct by public officials. In order to fulfil its functions, the PIA should be communicated of any administrative proceeding that has been initiated by disciplinary departments (Table ‎6.2). At the same time, it may carry out preliminary investigations, promote or intervene in administrative or judicial proceedings where administrative irregularities and corruption offenses have been allegedly committed by public officials. When the investigation carried out by PIA detects the possible breach of administrative norms, the information – together with a draft opinion (dictamen fundado) - is sent to the Treasury Attorney General Office or to the official of higher administrative hierarchy of the relevant department. In both circumstances, the PIA participates in the proceedings as an accusatory party (Law 27.148).

Table ‎6.2. PIA’s involvement in disciplinary proceedings

Disciplinary cases notified

Cases under consideration by year of initiation (214 in total)*

2017*

2165

46

2016

1612

58

2015

707

24

2014

NA

11

2013

NA

15

2012

NA

13

Note: Data refer to the situation as of September 2017. Out of the 214 cases in progress, PIA is intervening in 84 cases, is the prosecutor in 58 cases, and in 26 cases follows the development of the case and checking the legality of the process.

Source: Data provided by the PIA during fact-finding mission, October 2017.

  • The Anti-corruption Office (Oficina Anticorrupción) may provide opinions on the violation of the norms on public ethics contained in both the Public Ethics Law and the Ethics Code (Decree 41/1999). Similarly to the PIA, when an investigation carried out by the Anti-corruption Office (i.e. the Anticorruption Investigations Undersecretary) detects breaches to administrative norms the corresponding proceedings is passed with a draft opinion (dictamen fundado) to the Ministry of Justice, the Treasury Attorney General Office or to the head the relevant department.

  • The Office of the Comptroller General (Sindicatura General de la Nación, or SIGEN) is the main entity responsible for strengthening the coordination with the internal control and oversight bodies of the entities (see Chapter 5). Within disciplinary proceedings, it should be notified when the proceedings reveal the possible existence of a fiscal damage.

Considering that disciplinary proceedings can involve a number of different institutions and may have links with other typologies of responsibilities such as criminal or fiscal ones, coordination mechanisms become vital to ensure swift exchange of information and ensure the smooth functioning of the system as a whole. While one can welcome the bilateral coordination agreements signed among the PIA, the Treasury Attorney General Office and SIGEN clarifying the competences and prerogatives of each institution in the disciplinary proceedings, no formal mechanism is currently in place to foster coordination as well as mutual-learning and understanding among all relevant institutions within disciplinary proceedings. Interviews during fact-finding mission confirmed that communication between relevant institutions takes place on informal basis and that relevant institutions tend to work in silos with no institutional chance to continuously exchange challenges and experiences, learn from each other or to discuss formal or informal means to improve the system as a whole. In order to promote coordination, Argentina could create the conditions for swift communication and mutual learning through the establishment of a working group which could be formalised in a multi-party agreement as done in Peru on criminal justice matters through the tripartite inter-agency co-operation framework agreement (Box ‎6.6). On top of the institutions mentioned, additional representatives could be invited to be part on a continuous or case-by-case base: among them it would be relevant to consider the disciplinary offices working in different ministries, the Ministry of Modernisation (Ministerio de Modernización) because, among its tasks, it centralises employment data for the entire Argentinian Public Sector at the federal level, including data related to disciplinary system.

Box ‎6.6. Ensuring co-operation between agencies: The tripartite inter-agency co-operation framework agreement in Peru

On 2 November 2011, the judiciary, the Attorney General’s Office, and the Comptroller General’s Office entered into a Tripartite Inter-Agency Co-operation Agreement. The purpose of the agreement is to improve co-operation in order to reduce corruption and enhance confidence in state institutions. The Agreement sets out the roles of the three agencies in the detection, investigation, prosecution, trial and sanctioning of corruption offences. It sets up a framework for co-operation and information-sharing, as well as setting out specific tasks and objectives for each agency; for example, the Comptroller General’s Office is tasked with creating preventative strategies to combat corruption and developing software-based anti-corruption training programmes. According to discussions with the Peruvian authorities, at national level and for emblematic cases, the Agreement works very well and has proven to be effective in providing specialised expertise. However, the Agreement is reportedly less effective in serious corruption cases involving organised crime, where jurisdiction is transferred to the National Criminal Court.

Source: Tripartite Inter-Agency Co-operation Framework Agreement of 2011 between the judiciary, the Attorney-General’s Office, and the Comptroller General’s Office, www.oas.org/juridico/pdfs/mesicic4_per_cgr_conv2.pdf/; (OECD, 2017[4]).

The meetings of the working group could represent the opportunity to discuss ways to improve the effectiveness of the disciplinary system, in particular to promote exchanges of practices and information sharing, which emerged as the areas where more cooperation is needed during fact-finding mission. Building on the agreement between the Treasury Attorney General Office and the PIA granting the latter institution the “read-only” access to the Single Judicial Management Informatics System (Sistema Único Informático de Gestión Judicial, SIGEJ), the working group could discuss how to best leverage existing IT tools to improve the swift communication and sharing of information among institutions but also the elaboration of statistics which could feed policy-making as well as the assessment of the disciplinary system itself.

In setting up the working group, the design of the Anti-corruption Attorney Offices (Fiscalías de Investigaciones Administrativas, or FIAs) and Anticorruption Offices Forum (Foro de Fiscalías de Investigaciones Administrativas y Oficinas Anticorrupción) could be considered as an example as it gathers FIAs and Anticorruption Offices from the federal and regional level with the following objectives:

  • Supporting the FIAs, Anti-Corruption Offices and equivalent regional bodies through recommendations and background information, in order to ensure their independence, functional autonomy and financial autarky, in accordance with the fundamental principles of the respective legal systems.

  • Discussing issues related to common challenges that would allow cooperation in investigations between different jurisdictions.

  • Aiming at creating specialized professional and administrative staff within the member institutions of the Forum.

  • Promoting and strengthening the development of Forum’s bodies to adequately comply with their anticorruption functions.

  • Creating a dynamic relationship between all the institutions towards technical, scientific, research and advisory cooperation.

In order to fulfil these objectives, the Forum organises various activities such as the promotion and organization of congresses, courses, conferences and other academic events. The Forum is managed by a Board of Directors consisting of three representatives of the participating institutions, whose mandate is renovated on an annual basis (PIA, n.d.[8]).

6.4. Improving understanding of the disciplinary regime

6.4.1. The collection and use of data on the disciplinary system could be further developed in order to improve monitoring and evaluation of policies, performance assessment and communication.

The collection of relevant data on the disciplinary system can have multiple purposes. Firstly, they can feed indicators within the monitoring and evaluation activity of integrity policies (see Chapter 2) or in assessing the performance of the disciplinary system as a whole. Secondly, they can support policy-makers and enforcement authorities in identifying high-risk areas where further efforts are needed. Lastly, they can be part of a communication strategy which gives evidence of the State’s enforcement activity and contributes to build trust in institutions’ capability to hold public officials accountable for integrity-related breaches.

The availability and use of data concerning the disciplinary regime seems to be limited in Argentina, whereas no information is published by any institution and the data collection activity carried out by both the Treasury Attorney General Office and the PIA does not seem to serve any purpose but to register and follow-up cases. On top of that, the Anti-corruption Office does not receive the decisions on the violations of the Code of Ethics from the disciplinary offices and does not centralise such information in a register as provided for in Article 49 of Decree 41/99. On the other hand, one should note that since 2017 the Ministry of Modernization is collecting data on the disciplinary regime within the wider exercise to form an integrated information data base on public employment and wages in the public administration (Estructura Base Integrada de Información de empleo Público y Salarios, or BIEP). In particular, the database would collect the following substantial information:

  • Standard code of the sanction typology.

  • Local code of the sanction typology.

  • Date of sanction.

  • Reason and grounds for sanctioning according to the LMREPN.

Although this data collection activity represents a step forward in understanding the disciplinary system in Argentina, its scope seems to be limited by the fact that is carried out for HR-related aims and therefore does not reach the level of granularity which would be needed to use it for the above-mentioned purposes, including the number of investigations, typology of breaches, length of proceedings, intervening institutions, etc.

In light of this situation, the Treasury Attorney General Office could first of all put efforts in improving its data-collection activity in order to have a more comprehensive understanding of the disciplinary system: this would imply not only collecting an increasing number of information, but also drawing trends according to criteria such as year, entity or sanctioned conduct.

Secondly, since data and statics should be as transparent and accessible as possible, the Treasury Attorney General Office could not only update and publish data and statistics regularly in the institutional website in different formats, but could also find ways to communicate aggregate information to citizens in a more engaging and interactive way in order to stimulate accountability and foster trust among citizens. For these purposes, Argentina could consider the work of Colombia’s Transparency and Anti-corruption Observatory (Observatorio de Transparencia y Anticorrupción), a body within the Transparency Secretariat (Secretaria de Transparencia) elaborating corruption-related sanctions indicators (Indicadores de Sanciones), as well as reporting activity of the CGU in Brazil, which collects and publishes data on disciplinary sanctions in pdf and excel format. (Box ‎6.7)

Box ‎6.7. Collecting, publishing and elaborating data on disciplinary sanctions in Colombia and Brazil

In Colombia the Transparency and Anti-corruption Observatory publishes in its website updated statistics on corruption-related criminal, disciplinary and fiscal sanctions. With regards to disciplinary sanctions, data are taken from the Information System Register for Sanctions and Inability Causes (Sistema de Información de Registro de Sanciones y Causas de Inhabilidad, or SIRI) which keeps record of the decisions executed and notified to Inspector General (Procuraduría General de la Nación) by the competent authorities, in particular: disciplinary sanctions, criminal sanctions and inabilities.

In turn, the Transparency and Anti-corruption Observatory elaborates this information not only providing a map and details of sanctions but also analysing the data and providing graphs breaking the data according to several criteria such as entity, breach, department, sanction, typology of official.

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In Brazil, the CGU’s website contains a section where data on serious disciplinary sanctions (punições expulsivas) to public officials from the Federal Executive Power are reported and updated on a monthly basis. Information is displayed according to different criteria (e.g. year, month, entity, state and underlying conduct) and is elaborated into tables and graphs showing trends and comparisons as in the following examples:

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Source: Transparency and Anti-corruption Observatory’s website, http://www.anticorrupcion.gov.co/Paginas/indicador-sanciones-disciplinarias.aspx and http://www.anticorrupcion.gov.co/Paginas/mapa_sanciones.aspx; SIRI’s website, https://www.procuraduria.gov.co/portal/Siri.page;h CGU’s website on disciplinary sanctions’ reporting, http://www.cgu.gov.br/assuntos/atividade-disciplinar/relatorios-de-punicoes-expulsivas.

Data on disciplinary proceedings should not only be collected and made publicly available for accountability purposes, but they could also be used to openly assess the effectiveness of the disciplinary system of a whole through the definition of key performance indicators (KPIs) which could help identify challenges and areas where further efforts and improvement are needed (OECD, 2017[9]). Considering that Argentina does not have any mechanism in place for that purpose, the Treasury Attorney General Office could leverage its oversight role and develop a system assessing the performance of the federal administrative disciplinary regime by means of KPI. For this purpose, it could consider some commonly-used performance indicators on effectiveness, efficiency, quality and fairness from the field of justice (Box ‎6.8). The Treasury Attorney General Office should also make sure to give wide publicity to this exercise as well as to the corresponding results in order to demonstrate commitment to accountability and integrity values. Cooperation and support could be also sought within the Integrity Working Group lead by the Office of the Presidency (Mesa de Integridad), which could give further visibility to the results of the assessment and could carry out an analysis of its results in order to address challenges and shortcomings of the disciplinary system as well as of the integrity system as a whole.

Box ‎6.8. Potential key performance indicators for evaluating administrative disciplinary regimes

No single indicator can be useful in isolation, instead, a set of indicators must be assessed as a whole, along with contextual information, to be analysed and interpreted more accurately.

KPIs on effectiveness

  • Share of reported alleged offences ultimately taken forward for formal disciplinary proceedings: Not all reported offences may be taken forward following a preliminary investigation or hearing; however, the share of cases not taken forward, especially when analysed by area of government or type of offence, may shed light on whether valid cases are successfully entering the disciplinary system in the first place.

  • Appeals incidences and rates: A measure of the quality of sanctioning decisions and the predictability of the regime. Common metrics include the number of appeals per population (or civil servants liable under the disciplinary law), and cases appealed before the second instance as a percentage of cases resolved in first instance.

  • Inadmissible or discharged cases: The share of cases declared inadmissible (as well as a disaggregation for what grounds were provided for dismissal) can be considered an indication of the quality and effectives of procedures and compliance of the government with disciplinary procedures.

  • Overturned decisions: A second common measure on the quality of sanctioning decisions is the share of appealed cases where initial decisions were overturned. This can signify, in addition to failure to follow proper disciplinary procedures, the sufficient proportionality of sanctions.

  • Recovery: In the case of economic fines, the share of funds recovered or recuperated as per original sanctioning decision can indicate the effectiveness of government in carrying out sanctions.

  • Clearance rates: Another common indicator of effectiveness, this refers to the sanctions issued over the cases initially reported. It serves as a proxy for identifying “leaky” systems, whereby cases reported are not brought forward and/or to conclusion.

KPIs on efficiency

  • Pending cases: The share of total cases which are unresolved at a given point in time can be a useful indicator of case management.

  • Average/median length of proceedings (days): The average length of proceedings for cases is estimated with a formula commonly used in the literature: [(Pendingt1+Pendingt)/(Incomingt+Resolvedt)]*365.

  • Disposition time: Similarly to the previous one, this indicator provides a theoretical average of the duration of a case within a specific system by calculating the theoretical time necessary for a pending case to be solved in court in the light of the current pace of work of the courts. It is obtained by dividing the number of pending cases at the end of the observed period by the number of resolved cases within the same period multiplied by 365.

  • Average spending per case: Proxies for financial efficiency can include total resources allocated to the investigation and processing of administrative disciplinary procedures divided by the number of formal cases. Other methodologies include total spending on disciplinary proceedings per civil servant liable under proceedings.

KPIs on quality and fairness

  • In addition to some of the aforementioned indicators (i.e. high appeals rates or admissible/dismissed cases could suggest poor procedural fairness), the following qualitative data could also prove useful. The Council of Europe has produced a “Handbook for conducting satisfaction surveys aimed at court users” that could offer insights for similar exercises on administrative disciplinary regimes:

    • Perception survey data on government employees (including managers) on their perceptions of the fairness regime, the availability of training opportunities for them, etc.

    • Perception survey data from public unions, internal auditors/court staff (for serious cases), etc.

Sources: (Council of Europe, 2016[10]); (Council of Europe, 2014[11]); (Council of Europe, 2010[12]); (Council of Europe, 2008[13]); (Palumbo et al., 2013[14]); (OECD, 2017[4]).

6.4.2. The Treasury Attorney General Office could ensure regular training and provide further guidance to staff working on disciplinary matters.

Professionalism and capacity building are needed to sustain an effective disciplinary system, whose success also depends on having adequate capacities in place as well as on staff whose professional profiles reflect the mandate and tasks required to carry out meaningful investigations. In relation to disciplinary regimes, this may translate into administrative law experts, investigators, accountants, subject-matter experts (for particularly complex cases), financial experts, IT specialists, managers/co-ordinators and support staff. Although having the right number and mix of staff is a challenge, particularly in times of budget constraints, capacity costs should be weighed against the costs of non-compliance such as the decline in accountability and trust, direct economic losses, etc.

Training of disciplinary matters in Argentina is carried out by the Treasury Attorney General Office’s National Directorate of State Lawyers (Dirección Nacional de la Escuela del Cuerpo de Abogados del Estado), which is in charge of providing training to the body of lawyers working for the Government of Argentina, including those working in disciplinary units. Although there is evidence that a module on “labour relationship of the State and disciplinary means” is part of the continuous learning programme for lawyers [https://www.ptn.gob.ar/page/institucional-6] and that the disciplinary offices in ministries organize training to all staff on disciplinary matters, the information provided therein and interviews during fact-finding mission did not clarify whether such training on disciplinary matters is regularly offered or is rather based on voluntary attendance. At the same time, the staff working in disciplinary offices does not benefit from continuous guidance from the Treasury Attorney General Office, which does not provide any tool or formal channel to clarify issues arising from proceedings. This situation creates the risk of undermining the efficiency of the system as well as weakening the cases and breaching procedural issues, including the guarantees of the accused official.

In order to strengthen the capacity and to support of public officials in building and sustaining disciplinary cases, the Treasury Attorney General Office – as coordinating body of the disciplinary offices - could scale up efforts in two directions: on the one hand it could ensure continuous training of disciplinary staff to improve the effectiveness and consistency of the disciplinary regime as illustrated in Box ‎6.5 by the case of Brazil. On the other hand, it could provide tools and channels guiding and supporting disciplinary offices in carrying out cases. In this context, since the Treasury Attorney General Office is developing a manual of disciplinary proceedings to complement the implementation of the Electronic Documentation Management System (Sistema de Gestión de Documentación Electrónica, SGDE) and standardise steps and processes across disciplinary offices, Argentina could consider relevant practices from both OECD and non-OECD member countries, where support is provided through guides, manuals, or a dedicated email addresses (Box ‎6.9).

Box ‎6.9. Providing guidance on disciplinary matters

The United Kingdom’s Civil Service Management Code recommends compliance with the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (ACAS)’s Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and notifies departments and agencies that it is given significant weight in employment tribunal cases and will be taken into account when considering relevant cases. The ACAS, an independent body, issued the code in March 2015, which encourages:

  • clear, written disciplinary procedures developed in consultation with stakeholders

  • prompt, timely action

  • consistency in proceedings and decisions across cases

  • evidence-based decisions

  • respect for rights of the accused: right to information, legal counsel, hearing and appeal.

The code also contains guidance on how to interact with employees under investigation (i.e. providing information, evidence, allowing a companion to the hearing, role of the companion at hearings), which institutions to contact during the process to ensure due diligence and that the employees’ rights are respected, how to apply sanctions fairly (i.e. consistently, progressively and proportionately), how to handle special cases (i.e. cases of misconduct by trade union members), and what proceedings to follow in relation to potential criminal offences.

Australia’s Public Service Commission (APSC) has also published a very comprehensive Guide to Handling Misconduct, which provides clarifications of the main concepts and definitions found in the civil service code of conduct and other applicable policies/legislation as well as detailed instructions to managers on proceedings (see workflow below). The guide also contains various checklist tools to facilitate proceedings for managers such as: Checklist for Initial Consideration of Suspected Misconduct; Checklist for Employee Suspension; Checklist for Making a Decision about a Breach of the Code of Conduct; Checklist for Sanction Decision Making.

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The Comptroller General of the Union (CGU) in Brazil provides different kinds of tools to provide guidance to respective disciplinary offices: firstly, similarly to the previous examples, it has elaborated – and published in its website - guides, manual and material on a wide range of relevant issues related to the disciplinary proceedings, including:

  • administrative disciplinary law manuals

  • manual on the role and function of the disciplinary units

  • specialization modules on ad-hoc issues

  • practical manuals, slides and legislation on the administrative procedures

  • manuals from other entities

Secondly, the CGU’s website provides more than 200 questions and answers related to most recurrent doubts serving as a quick reference for consultation by disciplinary units, civil servants and citizens in general, as well as to guide and standardize the procedures related to disciplinary system.

Lastly, the CGU, through the National Disciplinary Board (Corregedoria-Geral da União, or CRG), also provides an email address to clarify questions related to the disciplinary system and to solve any doubt related to the building of disciplinary cases, with the aim to support disciplinary units in conducting proceedings a fair and rigorous way.

Peru’s Ministry of Justice (Minjus) has also published a practical guide on the disciplinary regime and proceedings (Guía práctica sobre el régimen disciplinario y el procedimiento administrativo sancionador) which addresses basic concepts and principles on the disciplinary regime, the procedural rules applicable to the administrative disciplinary procedure as well as some cases to better illustrate the issues. The purpose of the guide is to provide a didactic and useful tool for public servants and officials to know the different aspects and steps related to the administrative disciplinary procedure, but also the guarantees that protect them and that should be respected by the various public entities involved.

Source: (ACAS, 2015[15]); (APSC, 2015[16]); (CGU, n.d.[17]); (Minjus, 2015[18]).

Proposals for action

Enforcing the integrity rules and standards is a necessary element to prevent impunity among public officials and to ensure the credibility of the integrity system as a whole. In order to strengthen Argentina’s disciplinary system and thereby the accountability and legitimacy of its integrity system, Argentina may consider the following actions:

Creating a more comprehensive and effective disciplinary framework

  • The application of the disciplinary regime should be formally extended to all categories of public officials provided for by the LMREPN.

  • Argentina could consider amending the Administrative Investigations Regulation in order to allow disciplinary offices not having a public official belonging to the permanent regime to exceptionally rely on temporary staff having the appropriate experience to carry out disciplinary proceedings.

  • The on-ongoing revision of the Public Ethics Law could improve consistency between the existing fragmented integrity framework and the disciplinary system. Firstly, the revised law should ensure formal and substantial coherence with the LMREPN and the Ethics Code by making explicit reference to these closely-related instruments and avoiding any inconsistency. Secondly, the revised law could provide a more explicit link with accountability mechanisms and responsibilities for breaches of the ethical rules.

  • Argentina could expand the typologies of sanctions and include additional ones having economic relevance such as fines or salary reduction.

  • Argentina could consider introducing administrative sanctions for private entities involved in corruption cases.

Promoting co-operation and exchange of information

  • The Treasury Attorney General Office could create a formal network of disciplinary offices to further support coordination and communication between and among them.

  • In fostering communication and coordination with public entities on disciplinary issues, the Treasury Attorney General Office should also involve the Prosecutor Office for Administrative Investigations, which has developed a case management and follow-up system (PIAnet) in collaboration with the Attorney General Office.

  • All the institutions which may be involved in disciplinary proceedings could create a formal working group through a multi-party agreement to enhance coordination, communication and mutual learning.

Improving the understanding of the disciplinary regime

  • In order to have a more comprehensive understanding of the disciplinary system, the Treasury Attorney General Office could improve its data-collection activity by collecting an increasing number of information, but also drawing trends according to criteria such as year, entity or sanctioned conduct.

  • The Treasury Attorney General Office could regularly update and publish disciplinary-related data and statistics in the institutional website in different formats, as well as communicate aggregate information to citizens in a more engaging and interactive way in order to stimulate accountability and foster trust among citizens.

  • The Treasury Attorney General Office could leverage its oversight role and develop a system assessing the performance of the federal administrative disciplinary regime by means of KPIs.

  • The Treasury Attorney General Office should ensure continuous training of disciplinary staff and provide tools and channels guiding and supporting disciplinary offices in carrying out cases.

References

[15] ACAS (2015), Code of Practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, http://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=2174 (accessed on 27 November 2017).

[16] APSC (2015), Handling misconduct: a human resource manager’s guide, http://www.apsc.gov.au/publications-and-media/current-publications/handling-misconduct-a-human-resource-managers-guide-2015 (accessed on 27 November 2017).

[2] Cardona, F. (2003), Liabilities and disciplines of civil servants, OECD, Paris, http://www.sigmaweb.org/publicationsdocuments/37890790.pdf (accessed on 7 September 2017).

[17] CGU (n.d.), Manuais e Capacitação, http://www.cgu.gov.br/assuntos/atividade-disciplinar/capacitacoes (accessed on 27 November 2017).

[10] Council of Europe (2016), European judicial systems. Efficiency and quality of justice. Edition 2016 (2014 data), European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice, https://www.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperation/cepej/evaluation/2016/publication/REV1/2016_1%20-%20CEPEJ%20Study%2023%20-%20Overview%20-%20EN.pdf (accessed on 27 November 2017).

[11] Council of Europe (2014), Report on European judicial systems – Edition 2014 (2012 data): Efficiency and quality of justice, European Commission for the Efficiency of Justice, Strasbourg, http://www.coe.int/t/dghl/cooperation/cepej/evaluation/2014/Rapport_2014_en.pdf.

[12] Council of Europe (2010), Handbook for conducting satisfaction surveys aimed at court users in Council of Europe’s member states, Commission for the Efficiency of Justice, Strasbourg, https://wcd.coe.int/com.instranet.InstraServlet?command=com.instranet.CmdBlobGet&InstranetImage=2706085&SecMode=1&DocId=1664612&Usage=2.

[13] Council of Europe (2008), Checklist for promoting the quality of justice and the courts, Commission for the Efficiency of Justice , Strasbourg, https://wcd.coe.int/com.instranet.InstraServlet?command=com.instranet.CmdBlobGet&InstranetImage=2707813&SecMode=1&DocId=1281474&Usage=2.

[1] Gordillo (2016), Tratado de Derecho Administrativo y Obras Selectas.

[18] Minjus (2015), Guía práctica sobre el régimen disciplinario y el procedimiento administrativo sancionador, https://www.minjus.gob.pe/actividades-institucionales-y-eventos/minjus-publica-guia-practica-sobre-el-regimen-disciplinario-y-el-procedimiento-administrativo-sancionador/ (accessed on 27 November 2017).

[3] OECD (2017), OECD Integrity Review of Mexico: Taking a Stronger Stance Against Corruption, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264273207-en.

[4] OECD (2017), OECD Integrity Review of Peru: Enhancing Public Sector Integrity for Inclusive Growth, OECD Public Governance Reviews, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264271029-en.

[9] OECD (2017), OECD Recommendation of the Council on Public Integrity, http://www.oecd.org/gov/ethics/Recommendation-Public-Integrity.pdf.

[5] OECD (2004), “OECD Guidelines for Managing Conflict of Interest in the Public Service”, in Managing Conflict of Interest in the Public Service: OECD Guidelines and Country Experiences, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/9789264104938-2-en.

[14] Palumbo, G. et al. (2013), “Judicial Performance and its Determinants: A Cross-Country Perspective”, OECD Economic Policy Papers, No. 5, OECD Publishing, Paris, http://dx.doi.org/10.1787/5k44x00md5g8-en.

[7] PIA (2017), PIA Activity Report 2016, https://www.mpf.gob.ar/pia/files/2017/02/INFORME-ANUAL-2016.pdf.

[8] PIA (n.d.), Acerca del Foro | PIA, https://www.mpf.gob.ar/pia/acerca-del-foro/ (accessed on 24 November 2017).

[6] Rossi, I., L. Pop and T. Berger (2017), Getting the Full Picture on Public Officials: A How-to Guide for Effective Financial Disclosure, The World Bank, http://dx.doi.org/10.1596/978-1-4648-0953-8.

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