Public Integrity Systems (ES0048)
Action Plan: Spain Action Plan 2020-2024
Action Plan Cycle: 2020
Lead Institution: Ministry of Territorial Policy and Public Function, Ministry of Economic Affairs and Digital Transformation
Support Institution(s): Other actors involved (Public) Other Ministries, with the support of the corresponding Inspections of Departmental Services and its Coordinator Commission. Other Public Administrations through the Sectoral Commission of Open Government and Inter‐administrative Network of Quality in Public Services. Other actors involved (Civil Society) Academic World (Universities). Civil Society Organisations in the area of Integrity. Sectoral Commission of Open Government. Open Government Forum.
Policy AreasAnti Corruption and Integrity, Anti-Corruption Institutions, Automated Decision-Making, Capacity Building, Conflicts of Interest, Digital Governance, E-Government, Legislation, Lobbying, Participation in Lawmaking, Public Participation, Regulation
According to the Framework Document approved in 2019 by the group of Public Administrations and civil society within the Permanent Commission of the Open Government Forum and the Sectoral Commission of Open Government, the 4th Plan must be oriented towards the objective of building a system of public integrity, strengthening the ethical values and mechanisms to consolidate the integrity of the public institutions and bolster the citizenry's confidence. This commitment corresponds to a strategy to strengthen the preventative systems of public integrity from various perspectives, taking into account the main contributions of the citizenry to draft the 4th Open Government Plan. In this way, it contains four lines of action: Diagnosis and improvement of the systems of public integrity. Development of risk maps, codes of conduct, ethics climate surveys, self‐evaluation guides and training for civil servants. Regulation of a mandatory registry of lobbies Amendment of the law on disqualification of the staff at the service of the Public Administrations Reinforcement of Integrity in specific areas: public integrity and artificial intelligence
What is the problem/need that is desired to resolve with the commitment? In the words of the OECD, public integrity refers to the constant alignment and appropriation of ethical values, principles and shared standards, to protect and prioritise public interest about private interests in the public sector (OECD, 2016). At this point, it is important to reconsider society's demands and define new principles and guidelines that guide the exercise of public responsibilities, with standards that are most suitable for today's society, codes of conduct, specific lines of action, training programmes and accountability mechanisms. For these reasons, it is considered appropriate to carry out a general diagnosis of the preventative systems of public integrity existing in the State General Administration, based on which we can plan a framework of improvement actions in said environment for the highest ranking officials and the civil servants, in accordance with the values of public integrity, transparency and responsibility, thus reaffirming the confidence of the citizenry in public service. 74
Objectives of the commitment To strengthen the systems of public integrity through a set of measures with a preferably preventative intention, which fosters the detection of irregular actions. Brief description of the commitment It seeks to carry out a diagnosis of the integrity systems existing within the State General Administration that allows identifying strong points and areas of improvement, based on which preventative actions can be planned by the public officials in accordance with the current Administration. This will allow establishing monitoring systems of the organizations in successive phases through the development of risk maps and improvement plans, preparing codes of conduct, carrying out surveys and self‐evaluation of the ethical climate, promoting values of integrity in the quality management models of the organizations and improving the training and advising of the civil servants on these subjects.
How does the commitment contribute to solve the problem or cover the need? It contributes to building a system of public integrity, strengthening the ethical values and mechanisms to bolster the integrity of the public institutions and reinforce the trust of the citizenry.
Why is the commitment relevant with respect to the values of Open Government? 1. Without a doubt, the establishment of preventative public integrity systems promotes, strengthens and improves the quality of participation in public management, given that it allows the citizenry and civil society organisations to participate in making public decisions related to this commitment, in order to achieve better results and a better quality democracy. 2. The collaboration with actors involved in civil society delves deeper into transparency, through carrying out actions intended for its improvement and the evaluation of results, in this case, of the programmes regarding the development of integrity systems. 3. Logically, the greater relevance of the defined commitment results, by its very definition and the activities it entails, in contributing to build a system of public integrity, strengthening the ethical values and mechanisms to strengthen the integrity of public institutions and reinforce trust among the citizenry. 4. This commitment also seeks to raise awareness among civil servants on Open Government values.
Additional information As a complement to the activities that form part of the commitment, and as a presentation of it, it would be feasible to coordinate a space on the Transparency Website to report the specific actions that will be developed regarding public integrity and related information that further details the commitment and its activities, actions by the actors involved and supervisor bodies in the subject area, and notable good practises at the national level. Initially, the commitment does not have a quantified independent budget, given that to the extent possible, the activities will be developed with the own personal means of the public actors and civil society involved, including the eventual economic costs in the current budgets of the directive centres or organisations as own actions of their functions. 75
Activities of the commitment Date Start Date End 1. Carry out a diagnosis of the systems of public integrity Carry out a diagnosis of the systems of public integrity existing within the State General Administration from a preventative point of view, identifying strong points and areas of improvement to plan actions that reinforce the values and principles of public integrity. 15/11/2020 15/06/2021 2. To strengthen the values of integrity in the quality management models Adaptation of the quality management models of the organisations (EVAM and EFQM) to strengthen the values of public integrity as a transversal pillar, which crosses and qualifies the different operating pillars. Development of pilot experiences in ministries and public bodies. 15/12/2020 15/10/2021 3. To promote the drafting of codes of conduct for the GAB Drafting of codes of conduct for the State General Administration, adapted to the characteristics, risks and specificities of each organisation. Development of pilot experiences in ministries and public bodies. 15/01/2021 15/03/2024 4. Training actions Training of the staff of the public sector in ethics and integrity. 15/01/2021 15/06/2024 5. To promote the creation of risk maps in the organisations Drafting of guides and recommendations, with the objective that the organisations of the Central Government create their risk maps to identify the activities or processes susceptible to be considered in this way, to quantify their probability of occurring and measure their potential damage. These maps would be used to be able to develop a strategy in this regard. Development of pilot experiences in ministries and public bodies. 15/09/2021 15/03/2023 6. Design of ethics climate surveys and self‐evaluation guides Design of ethics climate surveys and self‐evaluation guides in each department, with experts on preparing and carrying out surveys. Development of pilot experiences in ministries and public bodies. 15/05/2022 15/06/2023 7. Inter‐administrative cooperation Drafting a letter of integrity commitments that different Public Administrations can comply with. 15/01/2024 15/09/2024
"What is the problem/need that is desired to resolve with the commitment? Regulating the relations of the lobbies with the leaders of groups thus covers a legal vacuum in our regulations that has been emphasized by both international organisations and civil society.
Objectives of the commitment To establish a law applicable to the State General Administration and the organisations and related entities of Public Law and dependent on them, which defines the actions and relations of these groups in terms of disclosure and avoiding conflicts of interests.
Brief description of the commitment ‐ Definition. ‐ Framework of action. ‐ Establishment of disclosure and registry standards. ‐ Duties and obligations of the people forming part of these groups. ‐ Limitations of the rotating doors between senior officials and civil servants on the one hand, and lobbies, on the other. ‐ Allocate the management of this Registry to the Office of Conflicts of Interest.
How does the commitment contribute to solve the problem or cover the need? It contributes by establishing the flow of participation in a transparent and public manner of the pressure groups, in such a way that the interests of these groups contribute to adopt public decisions.
Why is the commitment relevant with respect to the values of Open Government? The regulations that govern the lobbies will represent a clear strengthening in terms of quality, improving the transparency of the participation of lobbies in the decision‐making. On the other hand, the establishment of a code of conduct for the people representing these groups will represent an improvement in the prevention of conflicts in exercising the public jobs and positions. Of course, it is an essential standard in relation to a system of Public Integrity.
Additional information Commitment budget. Initially, the commitment does not have a quantified independent budget, given that to the extent possible, the activities will be developed with the own personal means of the public actors and civil society involved, including the eventual economic costs in the current budgets of the directive centres or organisations as own actions of their functions. Links of interest: https://www.lobbying‐register.uk/ 77 https://www.hatvp.fr/le‐repertoire/ https://rgi.cnmc.es/
Activities of the commitment Date Start Date End Drafting and approving the Law: Main milestones 1. Prior consultation and study of the contributions. Preparing the draft bill and impact analysis report 07/01/2022 30/03/2022 2. Submission to the council, so it can decide on the next proceedings, and particularly, the queries, opinions and reports that are appropriate (art. 26.4 Law 50/1997) 01/04/2022 30/04/2022 3. Processing of the hearing and public information. 01/05/2022 31/07/2022 4. Reports from other departments and bodies: • Office of Regulatory Coordination and Quality • Report from Autonomous Regions and FEMP • GTS Ministers 01/05/2022 31/07/2022 5. Request for other reports: • GD of Autonomous Communities and Local Coordination • Council of Transparency and Good Governance • Spanish Data Protection Agency • Technical General Secretary 01/05/2022 31/07/2022 6. Opinion of the State Council 15/09/2022 30/11/2022 7. Sending to the Committee of SS and Subsecretaries and Council of Ministers 01/12/2022 27/12/2022"
What is the problem/need that is desired to resolve with the commitment? To adapt the regulations that govern the incompatibilities and conflicts of interest of civil servants to the needs of the current Administration and the values of honesty and integrity that society demands.
Objectives of the commitment Within the Integrity Plan that establishes new standards of action of public officials, a new system of preventing conflicts of interest must be defined and establish new codes of conduct with clear, specific and defined principles. Brief description of the commitment ‐ Establishment of a system of incompatibilities of termination ‐ Extension to the advisers (eventual staff) of the regime of incompatibilities of high positions, as well as the publication of their CVs. ‐ Defining the activities exempt from the regime of incompatibilities by virtue of the provisions established in article 19.h of the Law. To more effectively regulate the conditions of compatibility with private activity
How does the commitment contribute to solve the problem or cover the need? It represents a review of the current regulations to establish the disfunctionalities detected in its application and the demands of society, establishing a new system of preventing conflicts of interest and in accordance with the current Administration.
Why is the commitment relevant with respect to the values of Open Government? It improves transparency and accountability through new demands of disclosure and control. On the other hand, it is directly related to a new system of public integrity and implementation of ethical values in the actions of staff at the service of the Public Administrations.
Additional information Commitment budget. Initially, the commitment does not have a quantified independent budget, given that to the extent possible, the activities will be developed with the own personal means of the public actors and civil society involved, including the eventual economic costs in the current budgets of the directive centres or organisations as own actions of their functions 79
Activities of the commitment Date Start Date End Reformation of the law on disqualification of the staff at the service of the Public Administrations 1. Prior consultation phase and preparing the draft bill and impact analysis report 07/01/2021 30/03/2021 2. Submission to the council of ministers, so it can decide on the next proceedings, and particularly, the queries, opinions and reports that are appropriate (art. 26.4 Law 50/1997) 01/04/2021 30/04/2021 3. Processing of the hearing and public information 11/05/2021 11/06/2021 4. Reports from other departments and bodies: • Office of Regulatory Coordination and Quality • Report from Autonomous Communities and FEMP • GTS Ministers 11/07/2021 15/09/2021 5. Request for other reports: • GD of Autonomous Communities and Local Coordination • Spanish Data Protection Agency • Technical General Secretary 15/09/2021 30/11/2021 6. Opinion of the Council of State 10/12/2021 31/01/2022 7. Sending to the Committee of SS and Subsecretaries and Council of Ministers 28/02/2022 27/03/2022
"What is the problem/need that is desired to resolve with the commitment? - The adoption of data‐based technology is creating opportunities in our economy and in the Administration's service to the citizenry. However, any information system that the public administration is equipped with to support its decision‐making must safeguard at least the same values and standards as those that are supported today, such as transparency, responsibility, non‐discrimination, data protection and security, among others. - Although Artificial Intelligence can offer many advantages, it also has its risks. The main risks related to the use of artificial intelligence affect the application of standards designed to protect the essential rights (such as the protection of personal data and privacy, and non‐discrimination) and security, as well as the questions related to civil liability. The States should adopt mechanisms to mitigate these risks in the public and private sector. The regulatory framework should be focused on how to minimise the different risks of suffering damages, especially the most significant ones - An artificial intelligence system can make decisions or advise civil servants on how to make them. The Public Administrations should guarantee that the civil service responsible for AI systems knows those systems and receives continuous training. The result of using Artificial Intelligence techniques in public administration may lead to the disappearance of repetitive tasks that do not provide value. In exchange, civil servants can focus on the tasks where human intelligence does add value (such as supervising decisions of automated systems, auditing, traceability). We can use the term ""bot administration"" to refer to the programmes, systems and applications that allow carrying out this specific type of electronic administrative action, which will become increasingly common. - Algorithmic transparency involves the capacity to know which data are used, how they are used, who use them, what they use them for, how data‐based decisions are made that affect the vital sphere of whoever requests this type of decision‐making. We are talking about AI systems that manage massive volumes of data and make decisions as a function of what they learn. In these systems, it may extraordinarily difficult to know what the decision‐making process was. However, it is requested that any system that makes decisions supported by learning algorithms provides in some way an explanation about what the process was for making or recommending a decision. There are systems in which it is very difficult or almost impossible to find an explanation for this decision‐making process. Transparency not only affects the algorithm, but also the data that it is based on.
Objectives of the commitment - Identify the measures that we should take to maximise the benefits of data management and Artificial Intelligence (AI) for our society and economy, identify and minimise the risks. - Analyse if it is sufficiently compliance with the Spanish Laws on the Defence of Consumers or if it is necessary to adapt the national laws to facilitate the burden of proof of the victims of damages related to AI. - To train civil servants on the concepts of AI and its uses in the Public Administration - Encourage the use of reliable algorithms and open code, and methodologies of projects that include reliability Brief description of the commitment - Preparation of a Guide of Use of Artificial Intelligence for the public sector that addresses the ethical principles and includes a list of recommendations for the use of AI, a methodology to approach an artificial intelligence 81 project, and a questionnaire to evaluate a reliable AI. Pursue the adoption of this guide in the Public Administrations. - Creation of the Data and Ethics in Innovation Centre. Its function will be to offer recommendations, advise the Public Administration and the Industry to foment ethical responsibility in enabling technologies and innovation, as well as recommend the analyses of the standards to guarantee the responsible use of AI, and that it is no less than with other products. - Implementation of an AI training or informative activity for civil servants. - Encourage methodologies in the projects that include reliability from the design. The points to take into account in transparency are: - Use reliable algorithms, avoiding errors in the design of algorithms, because after all, they were created by humans. - Use reliable data samples to train AI‐based systems. - Review the results with reliable trial data - Regularly supervise the decisions
How does the commitment contribute to solve the problem or cover the need? - Governments are facing the obligation to foment industrial and scientific development, and at the same time, develop a framework that at the same time, provides legal security to researchers and business owners, foments technological development, guarantees a sustainable environment from the economic and social point of view, and is respectful of our model of rights and liberties. - The complexity introduced by some of the technologies that form part of the framework of artificial intelligence, such as robotics, automated decision‐making, automated learning and virtual assistants have opened the debate regarding legal responsibility. It ranges from including a supportive responsibility to the allocation of a legal personality to these systems. The objective will be to advise the regulators, providers and developers in responsible and reliable innovation. The Data and Ethics in Innovation Centre could also consider implementing a prototype of a voluntary system of ""ethics responsibility regarding data"". - In many cases, the value generated by a civil servant cannot be replaced by AI, which will be an ally for carrying out its functions. However, for that reason, it is necessary to train the staff of the Public Administrations. - Promoting the use of reliable algorithms will increase reliability and transparency in AI projects
Why is the commitment relevant with respect to the values of Open Government? It contributes to building a system of public integrity, strengthening the ethical values and mechanisms to bolster the integrity of the public institutions and reinforce the trust of the citizenry
Additional information Activities of the commitment Date Start Date End 1‐ Guide of use of Artificial Intelligence for the public sector. - Preparation of the Guide - Questionnaire test for the evaluation of a reliable AI - Dissemination of the Guide 01/11/2020 30/06/2024 2‐ Creation of the Data and Ethics in Innovation Centre 01/11/2020 30/06/2024 3‐ AI training or informative activity for civil servants 01/11/2020 30/06/2024 4‐ Disseminate information on the reliability and transparency of AI through the Data and Ethics in Innovation Centre. 01/11/2020 30/06/2024"
IRM Midterm Status Summary
Commitment 5: Systems for public integrity
Commitment cluster 5 and 6: public integrity systems
Lead agencies: Ministry of Land Policy and Public Administration; Ministry of Justice
Context and objectives
The decision to include commitments in this area responds to citizen input gathered during the consultations and to government strategies to strengthen preventative public integrity systems from different angles.  This policy area was not included in Spain’s previous action plans.
Establishing a public integrity system for the central administration will strengthen the ethical values and integrity of public institutions, as well as build public trust. To this end, the process includes:
This cluster also aims to adopt two new legal frameworks: one to regulate lobby groups and create a lobby register; and one to draft a law for whistleblower protection in the public and private sectors. Lobby regulation and whistleblower protection have been constantly demanded by civil society organizations.  In Europe, regulations around lobbying, conflicts of interest, and whistleblower protection have been priority areas promoted as part of the open government framework. This cluster also includes reforms to reduce incompatibilities of individuals selected for public administration.
The open government lens is considered through participation by civil society stakeholders, including academia and other entities, in the analysis of new regulatory frameworks. The resulting regulation is expected to bring about greater transparency, encouraging access to information.
Potential for results: Substantial
Overall, these proposed actions could bring about substantial results, especially if the integrity system is successful in reducing corruption,  managing conflicts of interest in public administration, and building public trust.
Input gathered through assessments is the starting point to identify corruption risks and key points that need to be addressed through integrity management models and codes of conduct. The legal frameworks will provide tools to prevent crime and protect both public and private individuals who work with law enforcement.
An academic believes this commitment is an opportunity to create the necessary bodies, procedures, and instruments for integrity within the General State Administration.  This will facilitate control of undue influences and policy capture by private interests.  The academic also pointed out that this area has achieved various degrees of progress in the country; Castilla La Mancha and Catalunya, for instance, have laws that regulate lobbying. The varying levels of regulation across Spain make it necessary that all levels of government recognize the need and ensure the implementation of these systems. 
Opportunities, challenges, and recommendations during implementation
The regulatory nature of these commitments tend to lead to consultation processes with few opportunities for broader citizen participation beyond interest and specialized groups. To strengthen participation spaces, the IRM recommends integrating mechanisms to encourage participation, for example by using the Transparency Portal. According to OGP staff from Spain, on 28 April 2021, a consultation was held to gather proposals from citizens, interest groups, and stakeholders that will be considered during drafting the bill. Also on 28 April 2021, the government held a consultation on the bill to prevent conflicts of interest in the public sector. 
A challenge in this policy area is establishing proportional disciplinary mechanisms and strengthening regulatory entities, such as the Office for Conflicts of Interest. This means granting the office additional resources, adopting European best practices to manage conflicts of interest, and other recommendations from a comparative study by the Department for Citizen Rights and Constitutional Affairs of the European Parliament.  The IRM also recommends including, as part of the assessment and development of codes of conduct for the General State Administration, various disciplinary actions responding to the severity of the misconduct, incorporating the accountability dimension.
Finally, the results of this commitment will depend largely on the ability to pass the applicable reforms. The IRM recommends developing—from the beginning of the implementation—a strategy to reach consensus among political and social stakeholders so that proposed new instruments are effectively adopted and enforced.