Analysis
14 July 2021

Compliance in the public sector: The Ministry of the Armed Forces issued its Code of prevention of breaches of probity

Bastille Day Newsletter 2021 - Legislative, Regulatory & Policy Updates

 

The year 2016 has marked a turning point for compliance in France in the private sector as well as in the public sector given that new obligations were imposed on them by the laws n°2016-483 of 20 April 2016 on ethics, rights and obligations of public officials and n°2016-1691 of 9 December 2016 on transparency, fight against corruption and modernization of economic life (known as the Sapin II law).

The Ministry of the Armed Forces has quickly become an example in this area. Indeed, it has since defined a triple objective policy – to prevent situations of exposure for its agents, to protect itself from accusations that would tarnish its image and to promote a culture of ethics that accompanies its transformation – implemented through five types of actions – the transition of military personnel in the private sector via the Commission of ethics of military personnel, the declaration obligations, the network of ethics referents, the procedure for collecting whistleblower reports and the system for preventing corruption and breaches of probity[i].

Concretely, in 2017[ii] and 2018[iii], the Ministry of the Armed Forces set up an ethics and whistleblowing system, which is an organization dedicated to ethics and whistleblowing built mainly around “ethics and whistleblowing referents”[iv]. Their missions are particularly to raise awareness of ethical issues among the Ministry’s authorities, to provide training for the Ministry’s executives and to help decision-makers concerning conflicts of interest[v].

At the end of 2020, wishing to take another step towards a compliant administration, the Ministry of the Armed Forces published a Code of Conduct in line with the objective of the Sapin II law to prevent and detect corruption in its various meanings (active and passive corruption, influence peddling, concussion, illegal taking of interest, etc.) and conflicts of interest[vi].

This code, which has been drawn up on the basis of a risks mapping of breaches of probity by the “ethics and whistleblowing ministerial referent”, applies to all agents of the Ministry of the Armed Forces and of the public establishments under its supervision, and particularly to the agents involved in the prevention and detection of risks[vii].

The first part recalls the breaches of probity provided for in the criminal code and the notion of conflicts of interest, the second part explains how to adopt a “deontological attitude” and benefit from the development of probity culture, the third part details the way in which it is necessary to reinforce vigilance on the main activities at risk (public contracts, accounting, human resources), and finally, the fourth part lists the interlocutors who can be contacted for information or advice, to report forbidden behavior, or to secure a departure for the private sector[viii].

This code therefore demonstrates a clear commitment by the Ministry of the Armed Forces to the prevention of corruption and, more broadly, to compliance requirements. While it is true that many ministries have already set up ethics referents (for example, Interior, Culture, Foreign Affairs[ix]) and that a “network of ethics referents” has even been launched on September 16, 2019[x], the fact remains that the Ministry of the Armed Forces is the first to adopt such a fundamental text[xi].

In the hope that the Ministry of the Armed Forces will serve as model for the rest of the Ministries and more generally for all public administrations, this anti-corruption initiative can only be commended.

Related content

Press review
Press review - Week of 25 july 2022
29 July 2022
Press review – Week of 25 July 2022
In this review, you will discover two CNIL’s recent decisions, the first one aiming at protecting data rental cars’ users and the second one aiming at regulating the ...
Analysis
Transposition of the European Whistleblowers Directive: Towards a reinforcement of the French protection system
25 July 2022
Transposition of the European Whistleblowers Directive: Towards a reinforcement of the French protection system
The text of the law aimed at improving the protection of whistleblowers, drafted by the Joint Committee, was approved by the National Assembly on 8 February and by the Se...
Press review
Press review - Week of 11 july 2022
15 July 2022
Press review – Week of 11 July 2022
In this press review you will find a decision of the French Cour de cassation which clarifies the interpretation of the principle of speciality in extradition matters. Mo...
Analysis
The challenges of environmental criminal law in the light of the deferred prosecution agreement in environmental matters
14 July 2022
The challenges of environmental criminal law in the light of the deferred prosecution agreement in environmental matters
A new deferred prosecution agreement in environmental matters is an opportunity to review the creation of this new mechanism serving French environmental criminal law, bu...
Publication
BDN 2022
14 July 2022
Bastille Day Newsletter 2022
On this 14th of July, lawyers at Navacelle offer you, as it does every year, a selection of noticeable events which occurred in France during the last 12 months in the fi...
Analysis
transfer of criminal liability following a merger or acquisition
14 July 2022
Transfer of criminal liability following a merger or acquisition
In a ruling of April 13, 2022, the Court clarified the nature of the control that must be performed by judges on prosecutions against absorbing companies after its histor...
Analysis
The cumulation of criminal and administrative sanctions in tax fraud
14 July 2022
The cumulation of criminal and administrative sanctions in tax fraud
The judges of the Court of Cassation recently ruled on the cumulation of criminal and fiscal sanctions in tax fraud cases. This decision confirms the case law which permi...
Publication
The Guide to Sanctions -GIR (2022)
10 July 2022
The Guide to Sanctions (2022) – GIR
Navacelle co-author of the third edition of the Global Investigation Review's Guide to Sanctions.
Press review
Press review - Week of 4 july 2022
8 July 2022
Press review – Week of 4 July 2022
In this press review, you will find two decisions of the French Court de cassation regarding criminal procedure with regards to sentencing as well as to the admissibility...
Press review
Presse review - Week of 27 June 2022
1 July 2022
Press review – Week of 27 June 2022
In the press review you will discover the clarifications given by the Criminal Chamber of the French Court de cassation in different decisions, in the field of offences a...
Press review
Press review - Week of 20 June 2022
24 June 2022
Press review – Week of 20 June 2022
In the press review you will discover the new article of the French criminal code harmonizing the repression of “prise illégale d'intérêt”, a major clarification o...
Publication
Guidance on Internal Anti-Bribery and Corruption Investigations
22 June 2022
Guidance on internal anti-bribery and corruption investigations
Highlight of the first-ever guidelines issued by the French authorities on internal anti-corruption investigations by Ropes & Gray LLP and our partner Stéphane de Navace...