IV. Italian ongoing activities and future commitments

Administrative liability of companies

“Furthermore to enhance the tool, a targeted collaboration between the Antitrust Authority and the National Anti-Corruption Authority has made it possible to increase the guarantee of the level of protection of human rights by businesses by configuring an additional tool of the business rating. With respect to this tool, ruled between June and August 2020, more than 200,000 applications were submitted by Italian businesses for recognition of the standard.” (p. 17)

Public Procurement

“In addition, ANAC is working with other stakeholders in the project “Measuring the risk of corruption at territorial level and promoting transparency” (funded by the National Operational Programme Governance and Institutional Capacity 2014-2020 – ERDF, ASSE 3 – Specific Objective 3.1 Action 3.1.4), to identify quantitative indicators of the effectiveness of anti-corruption measures implemented by the administrations (so-called contrast indicators). The project also intends to create inter-institutional collaboration networks to 50 guarantee transparency in every sector of the Public Administration. The intent is to raise awareness of the private sector, academia and civil society on the need to overcome the current approach, based on exclusively subjective corruption indicators, and to promote a further approach to measuring corruption, based on reliable data in line with the principle of “leading by example”. As suggested by the OECD “investing in improving data quality to enhance risk assessments can provide a context for organizations to address broader issues along the value chain, improving the use of data within decision-making processes” (OECD, 2019).” (p. 49)

Fight against corruption

“The Italian legal framework on anti-corruption has been strengthened by Law No. 3/2019 (“Measures to combat crimes against the public administration, as well as on prescription and transparency of political parties and movements”), which consolidates a process regulated by Law No. 190/2012 and Law No. 69/2015 (strengthening the anti-corruption system). This most recent legislative measure is an important step towards a more comprehensive anti-corruption regime, in particular with regard to the fight against corruption in the public sector. Its main features are as follows: – the law introduces a dual approach: it strengthens the prosecution and (criminal) sanctioning of the act of corruption as well as the (administrative) prevention of the act itself in the public and private sector; – it encourages coordination between the public institutions involved; – it promotes a multi-stakeholder approach, calling on the private sector to play an active role in preventing corruption; – it demonstrates the relevance of the impact of multilateral conventions, recommendations and standards developed in the relevant forums (G20, OECD, Council of Europe), against which there is now an important alignment of the national anti-corruption system. In Italy Whistleblowing was introduced by the anti-corruption law (Law No. 190 of 6 November 2012, “Provisions for the prevention and repression of corruption and illegality in public administration”), adopted in compliance with recommendations and conventional obligations emanating from the UN, OECD, Council of Europe and European Union. This law provides for a system of enhanced protection for public employees who report unlawful conducts. Law No. 179 of 30 November 2017 strengthened the pre-existing whistleblower protection for public employees and partially extended the same protection to the private sector. With regard to the public sector, the law provides that a public employee who reports illegal or unethical conduct in the public interest cannot be retaliated against through sanctions, dismissal, demotion, transfer to other offices or other measures that have a negative effect on his/her working conditions. The protection is guaranteed to: employees of public administrations; employees of public economic entities; employees of private law entities subject to public control; employees and collaborators of private companies that provide goods, works or services to the public administration. Employees can report a violation : – to the person responsible for the prevention of corruption and transparency, – the National Anti-Corruption Authority (ANAC), and – to the judicial or accounting authority. The law covers misconduct and ethical errors, including (but not limited to): criminal conduct; violations of codes of conduct; mismanagement of public resources; nepotism; 51 accounting irregularities; violations of environmental and occupational safety regulations, etc. The protection entails, albeit within certain limits, the confidentiality of the whistleblower’s identity. The main protection mechanisms also include: the reversal of the burden of proof on retaliation on the administration, the reinstatement of the employee whose dismissal has been found to be retaliatory, and a financial penalty against the author of the retaliatory act or conduct ranging from € 5,000 to €30,000 imposed by ANAC. A desk service is available to whistleblowers who report cases of unlawful conduct in their workplace. The reports are acquired through a dedicated software, which guarantees confidentiality, security and reliability of whistleblowers. ANAC has made the computer application used for the acquisition and management of reports of wrongdoing by employees (“Whistleblower” software) available for re-use by administrations and companies with a European Union Public License (EUPL), which allows free use without further authorization from ANAC. Focusing on the private sector, the law provides some mandatory whistleblowing requirements for those companies that have chosen (or choose) to implement a “231 Model”. In particular, companies must provide communication channels that allow the submission of reports based on precise and factual elements connected with crimes as listed in Legislative Decree No. 231/2001. These communication channels must guarantee the confidentiality of the whistleblower in the management of the report; in addition, at least one alternative reporting channel must be provided which guarantees – using ad hoc software – the confidentiality of the whistleblower’s identity; the 231 model must also prohibit acts of retaliation, direct or indirect discriminatory actions against the whistleblower for reasons connected to the report/alert. Sanctions must be introduced in the disciplinary system adopted with the 231 model, both for those who violate the whistleblower protection measures and for the whistleblowers themselves who make malicious or seriously negligent reports that turn out to be unfounded; discriminatory measures may be reported to the Labour Inspectorate and to the competent trade union organizations. In addition, discriminatory dismissals, job changes and any discriminatory measures taken against the whistleblower will be void unless the company can demonstrate that they are in no way related to the whistleblowing activity. EU Directive 2019/1937, which regulates the “protection of persons who report breaches of Union law”, is currently being transposed in Italy, introducing common rules aimed at ensuring the protection of employees who report wrongdoing or breaches (“Whistleblowers”) in the Member States’ legal systems. It should be noted that some large Italian companies, announcing a policy of “zero tolerance” towards fraud and corruption, have been pioneers in this field, having created protected channels of reporting with a guarantee of anonymity even before the entry into force of the above-mentioned law. With the support of Transparency International – Italy, they have recently voluntarily adopted an online whistleblowing platform that is more advanced than the tools currently in use and that conforms to the highest standards of confidentiality” (p. 50)

Internationalization of companies

“Formal adherence to the principles of the UN Global Compact such as those relating to respect for human rights, workers, environmental protection and the fight against corruption, is a necessary requirement not only for sustainable economic growth, but also for the affirmation of democratic and participatory principles and the elimination of discrimination and inequality” (p. 55)

ANNEX 1 – Accountability Grid and Assessment Tools for the Implementation of the NAP

“35. continuing the promotion and protection of human rights, with a proactive role of the Inter-ministerial Committee for Human Rights, in correlation with the priority lines introduced in the framework of the PNRR and the SNSVS, including – among others – issues such as anticorruption, non-financial information disclosure , supply chain, environmental issues, decent work and non-discrimination in favour of competing companies in public calls for tender and within contracts stipulated with companies for the purchase of goods and services, with particular regard to (i) Italian companies operating abroad; (ii) Italian companies using foreign suppliers; (iii) foreign companies” (p. 66)