Torre-Serona: Spain’s First Municipality to Implement Corruption Whistleblower Channels

ayuntamiento torre serona

[:ca ]El consistori ilerdenc s’ha convertit en la primera administració pública a habilitar bústies de denúncia, segons els termes assenyalats per la Directiva Whistleblowers.The Lleida local council has become the first public administration to set up whistleblowing channel, in accordance with the terms of the Whistleblowers Directive.

Torre-Serona complies with the Whistleblower directive and becomes the first town in Spain to use the whistleblower channels.

The Ilerdense town council is a pioneer in setting up anonymous complaint mailboxes in accordance with the EU whistleblower directive.

As of today Torre-Serona, a town located in Lleida becomes the first city council in Spain to apply the mandatory directive known as the Whistleblower Directive or Directive 2019/1937 on whistleblower protection. The Directive obliges all companies with more than 50 employees, as well as small companies that are subject to activities that, due to their sensitive nature, must apply the directive.

The period for the application of this transposition for the Spanish case expires on December 17, 2021.

What is the purpose of the anonymous reporting channels?

The anonymous whistleblower mailboxes required by the directive provide channels for smooth interaction between the whistleblower and the external auditors.

How is this relationship between whistleblower and auditor achieved?

In order for Directive 2019/1937 or the Whistleblower Directive for the protection of whistleblowers of corruption and conduct contrary to the interests of the Union to raise the ethical standards of control of public administrations, it is necessary to oblige auditors to be absolutely independent of the institution in order to manage the anonymous whistleblowing channels.

The basic and essential channels are:

  • Through a web page.
  • Through e-mail.
  • Through telephone channels.
  •  In person and guaranteeing the anonymity of the whistleblower.

These mailboxes are the fundamental tool to avoid reprisals, since these behaviors are prohibited by current legislation.

How do anonymous complaint mailboxes work?

As it is a sensitive tool that must treat data anonymously through the points listed above, these subchannels must be kept operational at all times, as well as the complementary tools on communications certifications and risk analysis.

As a very complex tool in its operation, these mailboxes for anonymous complaints need to be able to guarantee security, confidentiality, data protection and secrecy in order to make it independent and responsible in its management.

It is for these reasons that the person who manages these mailboxes is required to be a natural or legal person who can be singled out in the management of these reporting channels. It cannot be any unidentified entity for this management; additionally, it must have the legal and technical capacities, as well as experience and knowledge in union law, obligations and infractions so that it can help the informant, alerter or complainant, as the case may be.

These reporting channels are the precedent of the evidence that can be presented in future legal proceedings, as well as serve as a filter of the information provided by the whistleblowers.

This directive, by including personal, expert and documentary evidence in many cases, becomes a binding and authentic internal procedure during the 3 months that the proceedings imposed by the directive last. It is for all these reasons that those who do not have such complaint boxes will be sanctioned.

The Torre-Serona town council, by accepting the whistleblower directive with its whistleblower mailbox and in accordance with European regulations, becomes a reference at a national level by having an entity that manages anonymous complaints because it is optimal and in accordance with the standards of the union in technical and regulatory issues.

Torre-Serona chooses Viadenuncia.

The internal channel of víadenuncia has been chosen by the municipality of Torre-Serona for being the most modern and best adapted to European regulations. In Barcelona, ethical channels are managed in the same way, however, these are managed by their own employees or some others are managed by multi-service companies, so there is no real independence in the framework of the new regulations.

ASPERTIC is the promoter and pioneer association of the initiative, for this reason, it validated and trained the investigating personnel, as well as developed the precise documentary body and according to European standards, it is also the one who permanently audits the protocols of víadenuncia.

ASPERTIC is currently collaborating with European institutions, in particular the Court of Auditors, the Commission and OLAF.

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