Anti-corruption Measures (LV0045)
Action Plan: Latvia Action Plan 2019-2021
Action Plan Cycle: 2019
Lead Institution: Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau
Support Institution(s): State and municipal institutions Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health, JusticeMinistry, Prosecutor General's Office, Ministry of the Interior Representatives of the society Society for Transparency - Delna, Latvian Local Governmentunion
Policy AreasAnti-Corruption, Anti-Corruption Institutions, Capacity Building, Conflicts of Interest, E-Government, Health, Legislation & Regulation, Local Commitments, Public Participation, Public Procurement, Public Service Delivery
What are the major national and societal challenges that this commitment will address?
The public and the public administration still have different perceptions of corruption risks and conflicts of interestmanifestations and measures that can help to alleviate it, as well as differences in treatmentforms of corruption and conflict of interest. There is a need to better understand what kind of support the state hasinstitutions need and have effective methods to improve skills in corruption andin the area of conflict of interest prevention, so that conflicts of interest are prevented in good time before they occur; andraising awareness of the risks of corruption within the institutions, fostering public confidence.
Anti-corruption measures in the area of public health are inadequate. KNAB has doneanalysis of corruption risks in this area. However, the work has not been systematic for some topical industryproblem-solving. In developing this Action Plan, a number of members of the public have been identifiedcurrent problems. For example, measures are needed to promote fairness and transparencytreatment of a visit to the doctor in a queue when vacant positions appear in the queue. Are notan in-depth look at the reasons behind the widespread patient appreciation gifts doctors receive to receiveservice or favorable treatment, and how to improve the situation.
Lack of transparency in public institutions and municipalities is perceived as a significant problem in societyand municipal companies, including financial flows and financial uses. It increases bothrisks of conflict of interest, both corruption and public confidence.Insufficient exchange of information between law enforcement authorities and others is a pressing issueinstitutions. The authorities are not always informed if an employee has committed an offense and is prohibited from taking up or pursuing a post. It should therefore be evaluatedthe need to make amendments to regulatory enactments. For example, the lawyer of the processa copy of the decision must be notified to the employer / institution in cases where:officials are subject to restrictions or prohibitions on performing their duties, or onin cases where criminal proceedings against the person have been terminated on non-rehabilitative basis, which:hereafter prohibited by law.
The Criminal Procedure Law provides for strict cases (Articles 247, first para., 254, 265 parafourth paragraph, Article 481, fourth paragraph, and Article 634, fourth paragraph, paragraph 4), in which the personappropriate coercive measures or restrictions (prohibitions) shall be notified to the persons concernedemployer.
What is the commitment?
The commitment is to implement the following measures to prevent corruption and conflicts of interest in a timely manner :
1. Support for the promotion of knowledge in public administration and in society of conflicts of interest andfor the prevention of and against intolerance to corruption:
• Survey and presentation of survey results to discuss support needed andawareness-raising techniques, such as interactive techniques such as workshops,guide, access to counseling, dilemmas, audio content (podcast),
• raise awareness of conflicts of interest in public administration through those supported by the surveymethods ,
• train ethics officers or educators in public administration;
• Raising public awareness of the consequences and causes of corruption (using innovative approachesmethods).
2. Measures to reduce corruption risks in the health care system:
• implement measures to reduce the risk of corruption (gratitude gifts) in healthcare;involving the health sector and the population receiving it,using public sector innovation and behavioral research methods,Implemented in conjunction with Commitment 5 - Public Participation Pilot Project on Health.
• Introduce a system to monitor actual waiting times for healthcare services;which is based on e-mail functionality.The KNAB, in cooperation with the Ministry of Health, is assessing whether these are sufficient solutions or necessaryother measures to alleviate the above societal challenges identified by the development of thisAction Plan.
3. To promote transparency in the procurement of municipalities and their capital companies in practiceprocess and use of funds (including those of subsidiaries and associations anduse of funds allocated to foundations) and is not subject to any conflict of interestsituation.This measure will be implemented with the involvement of municipalities and their capital companies, by asking for proposalsand examples of good practice. The event will result in recommendations to and from the municipalitiescapital companies.
4. Informing the employer / institution that an employee of the institution concerned has been initiatedand / or completed criminal proceedings that further prohibit or impose a particular occupationcertain restrictions:This measure will promote greater transparency in the public administration about the crimes committed by public officialsoffenses and will allow timely provision of information to offenders
and who are subject to an appropriate prohibition, occupation or occupation,providing that the person directing the proceedings must inform the employer of the cases in question.
How will the commitment help to address the issues identified?
Commitment will help to raise awareness within the public administration and society of conflict of interest andanti-corruption aspects using modern, interactive and innovative methods. Informingand educating public officials and the public will reduce the risks of corruption.Commitment measures will help to reduce the risk of corruption in health care facilities by encouragingawareness of the inadmissibility of corruption both to the institution's staff and members of the publicoverall.The commitment will promote transparent financial management in municipalities, associations, foundations andin capital companies.The commitment will promote openness in public authorities by ensuring timely exchange of information on themofficials who are subject to a ban or are legally required to perform their dutiesshall be prohibited from further employment.
Why is this commitment consistent with OGP values?
The commitment is fully in line with the following OGP values:
• openness, as it raises public awareness of the contributing factors to corruption; andprovide more information to the public on the work of public authorities;
• accountability as it improves regulation and mechanisms directed at public authorities andthe responsibility of public officials for what has been done and the decisions taken.
Available commitment ornecessary financing
Commitments will be made from those intended for this purposeState budget resources.If ministries and other central authoritieseventsof interestconflictprevention,measures to mitigate public concernscorruption problems in health care (exceptCommitment), or measures to promotemore transparent municipalities and their capital companiesprocurement process and use of funds will beneed additional state budget funding thenthe issue is on the 2021 draft state budgetand a medium-term budgetary framework projectpreparation process.
Relationship with other documents
Guidelines for preventing and combating corruption
IRM Midterm Status Summary
6. Actions for corruption prevention
The commitment constitutes implementation of the following activities to prevent corruption and conflicts of interests in a timely manner:
- Support to the promotion of knowledge in the State administration and public for the prevention of conflicts of interests and corruption, and also zero tolerance against corruption.
- Measures for the reduction of corruption risks in the healthcare system
Implementation shall be linked to Commitment 5 – public participation pilot project in the field of healthcare.
- Promotion of ensuring transparency of the procurement process and use of financial funds of local governments and their capital companies in practice (including the funds of subsidiaries and funds allocated to associations and foundations) and preventing of situations where a conflict of interests occurs.
- Provision of information to an employer/institution of the fact that against an employee of the respective institution criminal proceedings which prohibit him or her from holding a certain office in the future or imposes certain restrictions thereupon have been initiated or terminated.
- Training of employees of the State administration
- Support to employees of the State administration in the issues of the conflict of interest and corruption through the use of interactive and innovative methods
- An implemented measure in the health care sector.
- Proposals for greater transparency in the use of financing of local governments and their capital companies avoiding exposure to a conflict of interest have been prepared
- Amendments to laws and regulations which provide for improving the exchange of information between government institutions regarding the initiated or terminated criminal proceedings against persons working in the State administration
Editorial Note: For the complete text of this commitment, please see Latvia’s action plan at: https://www.opengovpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Latvia_Action-Plan_2019-2021_EN.pdf
IRM Design Report Assessment
The commitment aims to implement corruption prevention measures in Latvia by training officials and raising awareness in institutions. The measures also introduce preventative and monitoring measures in the healthcare system and in local government, but it is unclear whether it creates sufficient public-facing opportunities to hold officials answerable for their actions.
According to the latest GRECO report,  over the past two decades, significant resources have been allocated to curb corruption in Latvia, although attention needs to be paid to executive functions. In addition, the 2016 Global Corruption Barometer indicated about 14% of public service users in Latvia have engaged in bribery.  More recent data  suggest that the public perceives corruption as being less of a problem now than in the past despite recent examples of ‘grand corruption’   and evidence of 'state capture.’ 
In recent years, Latvia has increased the maximum fines for foreign bribery, money laundering and false accounting offences. The threshold to prove money laundering has been lowered, and comprehensive legislation on whistleblower protection has been adopted, all of which have been marked as positive developments by the OECD. 
The Corruption Prevention and Combating Bureau (KNAB) is a vital institution that works on prevention, detection and investigation of corruption and that implements anti-corruption awareness-raising measures. KNAB organises regular trainings on corruption prevention, the legal anti-corruption framework and ethics for different governmental institutions.  KNAB has also organised trainings on conflict of interest for state administrations, upon request.  It also informs the general public on the corruption tendencies in the country and investigated corruption cases. Building on this, the commitment aims to use diverse tools to support knowledge sharing in public administration, which would be based on a survey that would help identify effective tools.
The commitment also includes measures to be taken to reduce corruption risks in the healthcare system, which have been pointed out by KNAB since 2011.  In 2018, 57% of the general public believed bribery and corruption are prevalent in the health sector.  Other studies have linked the lack of transparency around waiting times with bribery in the medical sector.  This is why, as was noted in Commitment 5, the stakeholders propose that the first step is to carry out a comprehensive study on the topic to determine the most appropriate plan of action for the future. This entails assessing causes and risks of corruption in health care specifically through the KNAB ‘Attitude towards corruption in Latvia’ survey. Since the action plan was adopted, the Government have confirmed that a survey will be carried out by the Ministry of Health and in collaboration with civil society organisation Providus, rather than KNAB.  Furthermore, the commitment also mentions an introduction of a new system for monitoring e-referrals. This system will be developed as a part of the reforms in the digitalisation of the health sector, but the precise functionality of the system has not yet been designed. It is not clear this system will publish such monitoring data.
In addition, the commitment aims to address an issue identified in previous State Audit Office reports  about the risk of capture by individual interest groups in local government spending and borrowing granted to projects against the public interest. It was noted in interviews with government representatives  that these kinds of cases can ‘fly under the radar’ easily under the current arrangements. To address the issue, the commitment includes a specific milestone to draft proposals for local governments on avoiding potential conflicts of interest. Again, it is not clear whether these proposals will be made publicly available or whether they will be drafted in collaboration or in consultation with civil society or the public.
Milestone 5 seeks to solve an issue regarding exchange of information between state institutions. Representatives from public institutions in the multistakeholder forum brought to light  that there is no system to inform an employer that an employee of the public administration (including police) has received a criminal conviction that would prohibit them from continuing in their role. In principle, there may be cases wherein such an employee has been found guilty, but no additional penalties have been assigned (e.g. in cases of settlement). The court is not tasked with informing the employer, which in principle could allow the employee to continue working. Addressing this issue would include legislative changes, most likely in the Criminal Procedure Law.  The commitment foresees regulatory and legislative changes which would ensure a new process is mandatory.
Although the commitment as a whole is not relevant to OGP values, overall it can be seen as having a moderate impact on the current corruption challenges facing corruption prevention in Latvia. The measures in healthcare for example will directly address some of the corruption risks identified. Changes in reporting criminally convicted public employees are expected to change the way this system operates inside government. It could be relevant to OGP values if it has clear participative or public-facing milestones – a monitoring system for healthcare e-referrals that is visible to the public, transparent reporting on the measures tackling criminally convicted public employees, or a collaborative consultation process with the public about transparent financing of local governments and their capital companies. Additionally, the head of KNAB recently noted  that the capacity of institutions like the KNAB need to be strengthened and supported to address most of the central challenges Latvia currently faces in terms of corruption prevention.
Transparency in Public Procurement and Contracts
LV0040, 2019, Access to Information
LV0041, 2019, Access to Information
Transparency in Lobbying
LV0042, 2019, Capacity Building
Open Municipal Government
LV0043, 2019, E-Government
Public Engagement in Policymaking
LV0044, 2019, Capacity Building
LV0045, 2019, Anti-Corruption
Public Participation in Decision-Making
LV0028, 2017, Access to Information
LV0029, 2017, Access to Information
LV0030, 2017, Access to Information
LV0031, 2017, Capacity Building
LV0032, 2017, E-Government
LV0033, 2017, Anti-Corruption
Ethics in Public Management
LV0034, 2017, Capacity Building
LV0035, 2017, Legislation & Regulation
Open Public Procurement
LV0036, 2017, Access to Information
Transparency in State Management
LV0037, 2017, Access to Information
LV0038, 2017, Anti-Corruption
LV0039, 2017, Capacity Building
Concept Note on Publishing Data
LV0018, 2015, Access to Information
Portal Drafting Legislature and Development of Planning Documents
LV0019, 2015, E-Government
Platform Unifying Gov. Webpages
LV0020, 2015, E-Government
Transparency of Selecting Candidates for the Boards and Councils of Public Entity Enterprises
LV0021, 2015, Legislation & Regulation
Supervising Officials Responsible of Public Resources
LV0022, 2015, Anti-Corruption
Sustainable Model of Financing NGOs
LV0023, 2015, Civic Space
Online Collection of Signatures on Referenda
LV0024, 2015, E-Government
Draft Law on Protecting Whistleblowers
LV0025, 2015, Anti-Corruption
Assessment of the System of the Financing Political Parties
LV0026, 2015, Anti-Corruption
Code of Ethics and a Public Administration Employee’S Handbook for Public Sector
LV0027, 2015, Capacity Building
LV0001, 2012, Capacity Building
Strengthen Social Partners
LV0002, 2012, Public Participation
Trade Union Law
LV0003, 2012, Civic Space
LV0004, 2012, Civic Space
Public Engagement Model
LV0005, 2012, Public Participation
Internet Access Points
LV0006, 2012, E-Government
Public Service Assessment
LV0008, 2012, E-Government
LV0009, 2012, E-Government
LV0010, 2012, Anti-Corruption
LV0011, 2012, Legislation & Regulation
LV0012, 2012, Anti-Corruption
Public Subsidy Control
LV0013, 2012, Private Sector
State Owned Enterprises Management
LV0014, 2012, Private Sector
Single Platform for Government Websites and Information
LV0015, 2012, E-Government
Online Broadcasting From the Cabinet and Parliament
LV0016, 2012, E-Government
Website For Public Participation
LV0017, 2012, E-Government