Internal regulations for the operation of Barcelona City Council’s Ethics Committee
Barcelona City Council’s Code of Ethics and Code received approval during the Full City Council Meeting on 30 June 2017.
The Code stipulates that the Ethics Committee should draft a proposal for internal regulations that supplement its legal status and regulate the procedures for action.
The Internal regulations for the Operation of Barcelona City Council’s Ethics Committee were approved on 13 February 2019.
This link enables you to download the text published in the Official Barcelona Province Gazette in PDF format. The text, which we also provide below, to facilitate your viewing:
Article 1. Object
The object of these regulations is to govern the operations and powers of Barcelona City Council’s Ethics Committee.
The Ethics Committee was created to promote, monitor and assess compliance with Barcelona City Council’s Code of Ethics and Conduct.
Article 2. Ethics Committee’s Nature
Barcelona City Council’s Ethics Committee is a collegiate consultative body receiving the necessary assistance and technical support from the City Council’s staff for carrying out its functions.
The Ethics Committee was created to promote, monitor and assess compliance with Barcelona City Council’s Code of Ethics and Conduct.
Reports and recommendations issued by the Ethics Committee are non-binding.
Article 3. The Ethics Committee’s functions are as follows:
- to disseminate the Code and see to its compliance.
- To resolve any doubts that may arise over its interpretation and application.
- To promote measures for training and for preventing actions that go against the values of good governance, the rules and the conduct guidelines that govern the Code. While complying with this regulatory text, the Ethics Committee must consider adapting provisions relating to the hiring of managerial staff and appointments in regard to conflicts of family interest.
- To formulate recommendations on breaches of the Code, without prejudice to the investigatory functions of the competent monitoring body, in accordance with the principles of collaboration and coordination.
- To formulate recommendations and propose improvements in ethical management and the application of the principles of good governance:
To issue the reports requested relating to the exercise of these functions. As for disciplinary proposals processed in accordance with this Code, its reports are mandatory.
It shall also be mandatorily required to provide information where this Code’s interpretation relates to elected officials and senior managerial staff.
- To carry out periodic reviews of the Code and draft proposed amendments to keep it up to date.
- To prepare an annual report on the activity and submit it for presentation at the Municipal Council, during a Full Meeting or Commission, following a report to the Government Commission.
The Ethics Committee comprises an equal number of men and women and consists of a maximum of five professionals of recognised prestige in the field of safeguarding public ethics, integrity and transparency, among whom there must be a minimum of two individuals from a legal background.
Individuals nominated by municipal groups for membership of Barcelona City Council’s Ethics Committee shall have to attend an open hearing to answer questions from councillors and members of the Advisory Board for Transparency.
Afterwards, the individuals making up the Ethics Committee shall be nominated by the Municipal Council’s Commission for Presidency, Citizen Rights, Participation, Security and Prevention or Commission replacing it, chosen by agreement adopted at a Full Municipal Council Meeting by a qualified majority of two thirds and appointed by the Mayor.
The Ethics Committee’s members shall receive allowances for effective attendance of their sessions in accordance with the provisions set forth in the municipal budgets and the corresponding regulatory decree.
The Ethics Committee’s members shall be subject to the general system of incompatibilities established by legislation.
For the purposes of evaluating possible incompatibilities and availability, individuals interested in admission to membership of the Ethics Committee are under an obligation to declare any remunerated activities they perform.
Likewise, once the Ethics Committee's members have been appointed, they shall have to make a new declaration where there is a change to the activities they have already declared. Failure to comply with this condition is a ground for dismissal.
Failure to comply with the duty of secrecy and to keep identities and other processed personal data confidential may also be a ground for dismissal. For these purposes, they shall have to sign a confidentiality clause whose content must at least include a commitment:
- To abide by the principle of maximum secrecy and confidentiality of the data and contents of communications (especially those derived from the Ethics Mailbox) and other information they may access or become aware of due to their position or in the course of their duties. An obligation that arises from their appointment and extends throughout their duties and continues indefinitely after leaving the position.
- Not to make use or take advantage for their own purposes or for any purposes other than those inherent in their position and set out in the Ethics Code of confidential information obtained in exercising their position or in the course of carrying out their duties. Confidential Information, which they undertake to safeguard and not to transfer or disclose to third parties even after they have left office.
- Not to make copies or reproductions (in any medium whatsoever) of confidential information obtained in exercising their position or in the course of carrying out their duties unless it is strictly necessary for the performance of their duties and they accordingly communicate this to the body or department that has provided them with the documents.
- To destroy any copy whatsoever, irrespective of the medium or format it is stored in, of the information they have access to in exercising their position or in the course of carrying out their duties, where so established or requested by the competent municipal body, and, in any case, once they have left office whether because the period of their appointment has come to an end or for any other reason, providing, in this case, the corresponding proof.
- To abide by and follow the security guidelines established by competent municipal bodies derived from computer and technical specialities and requirements (encryption and decryption etc.) of information that may come from the Ethics Mailbox.
- To comply, as regards personal data that they may have knowledge of in exercising their position or in the course of carrying out their duties, with the obligations of secrecy and confidentiality established in Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, as well as, where it does not go against EU regulations, Spanish Framework Act 15/1999, on personal data protection (LOPD) and its implementation regulations and/or those that may replace or update them in future
Any breach of the above commitments shall create a liability to compensate any damage or loss that may be caused to Barcelona City Council or possible third parties that may be affected as a result of the breach. None of this is with prejudice to any penalties available in legislation.
Where requested by the Analysis Services Department at the Office of Transparency and Good Practices, the Committee's members must undergo a training course given by the Municipal Institute of Information Technology corresponding to the Ethics Mailbox’s secure environment for Exchanging Information with the Ethics Committee by the Municipal Institute of Information Technology. The purpose of this tool is to guarantee confidentiality and the principle of maximum secrecy required in the Rules governing the Ethics Mailbox and good governance.
The Ethics Committee’s members cannot be removed from their post throughout their respective terms of office and may only be dismissed on one of the following grounds provided for under the following article of these Regulations.
The term of office for the Ethics Committee’s members shall be for a period of five years which may be renewed for a further five years following ratification at a Full Meeting of the Commission for Presidency, Citizen Rights, Participation, Security and Prevention.
The Ethics Committee’s members cannot be removed from their post throughout their respective terms of office and may only be dismissed on one of the following grounds:
- The period for which they were elected has ended.
- Conviction, not subject to appeal, for an intentional crime.
- Gross negligence in the exercise of their duties as assessed by an absolute majority of the Ethics Committee’s members.
- Giving rise to a ground for incompatibility or failing to declare other remunerated activities they perform.
Should any of the Ethics Committee’s members leave office prematurely, the individual replaced will occupy the post on an equal basis in time as the member who replaces them for the remainder of their five-year appointment. Although they may be re-elected for a second period of four years.
The Ethics Committee’s members shall exercise their duties with full autonomy, independence, objectivity and impartiality. They cannot receive instructions from any municipal body, authority or post.
The Ethics Committee’s members must keep any information secret that they have access to in exercising their duties (identification of individuals affected by communications, witnesses and individuals who are the subject of relevant investigations; facts examined, content of investigations and deliberations and decisions adapted) and must keep any processed personal data confidential, an obligation that they shall remain bound by even after they leave office, breach of which shall result in the corresponding penalties described in the previous section and with the provisions set out in the confidentiality clause signed by members of this Committee and described in Article 6 of these Regulations.
On joining the Ethics Committee, members must make a declaration of compliance regarding this duty to keep processed personal data secret and confidential.
Only final decisions on the procedure already communicated to the individual or individuals concerned can be published.
It falls to the Ethics Committee’s members:
- To draft and formulate recommendations on breaches of the Code, without prejudice to the functions of the investigation of the Analysis Services Department
- To formulate recommendations and propose improvements in ethical management and the application of the principles of good governance.
- To issue the reports requested relating to the exercise of these functions.
The Ethics Committee shall appoint an individual from among its members who shall act as secretary.
The functions of the Ethics Committee’s Secretary shall be as follows:
- To prepare the agenda of the sessions and corresponding minutes and call meetings.
- To represent the Committee on occasions where no other member has been expressly appointed for this.
- To appoint a speaker from among the individuals making up the Ethics Committee for preparing proposals for recommendations and reports in accordance with the agenda and requirements determined in Article 17 of the regulations.
- To receive communications of presumed breaches of the Code, following investigation of the forms of behaviour that may involve the breach by the competent monitoring body.
The functions of the Ethics Committee’s Secretary are understood to be without prejudice to those falling to the City Council’s other monitoring bodies.
For purposes of performing their duties, the Ethics Committee’s Secretary shall have the assistance and technical support they require at their disposal.
The Ethics Committee’s member appointed to carry out the duties of Secretary shall receive allowances for performing these tasks in accordance with the provisions set forth in the municipal budgets and the corresponding regulatory decree.
Any individual, besides public servants at the service of Barcelona City Council’s member bodies and of the units making up the municipal administration, may contact the Ethics Committee through a communication that will need to contain a sufficient description of the facts to enable identification of the behaviour in question.
These communications may be submitted, either directly or through the Ethics and Good Governance Mailbox, to the Analysis Department of the Office for Transparency and Good Practices.
The Ethics Committee’s meetings must be held in the municipal locations allocated for that purpose.
The Ethics Committee will decide on its meetings system and must meet up as frequently as necessary to carry out its duties and, in any case, at least four times a year.
The meetings will be deliberative. They shall be exclusively attended by the Ethics Committee’s members and members of staff from the Analysis Department at the Office for Transparency and Good Practices who have carried out the preliminary investigation work on the types of behaviour that may involve a breach of Barcelona City Council’s Code of Ethics and Conduct and agreements that fall within the Committee’s jurisdiction will be adopted.
The Ethics Committee must be validly constituted with two of its members plus the member appointed to act as the Ethics Committee’s Secretary.
The Ethics Committee can act in a full session or delegate its functions to one or more of its members in accordance with these internal Regulations and the provisions of the third paragraph of this Article.
The Analysis Department may keep up the contacts necessary for sending the new communications that are received and which fall within the jurisdiction of this Committee through the IT environment referred to in the sixth Article of these Regulations.
It falls to the Committee’s member acting as Secretary to convene meetings, which shall have to be communicated respectively to each of the members individually within a period of fifteen days before they are held.
Meetings must include an agenda and documents relating to the issues to be dealt with.
The Committee’s Secretary shall take the minutes of each meeting, which will be included as point number 1 on the agenda of the following meeting for its approval. The Secretary-General may issue accrediting certification of the agreements adapted, without prejudice to the subsequent approval of the minutes, where specified.
The minutes must include a list of all the individuals attending or absent, a summary of the meeting, except where confidentiality of identities is required, and a put on the record regarding any agreements that are taken, the number of votes in favour of and against them as well as abstentions.
Any member may request that the reasons for their particular vote be recorded, as well as a full transcription of their speech or proposal, a copy of which will be added to the minutes.
The Ethics Committee’s Secretary must appoint a speaker on a rotating basis for each issue to be dealt with; the latter must inform the Committee’s other members and present the proposed agreement or decisions, where appropriate.
The issues will be assigned to the Ethics Committee’s various members on a random basis.
Members who have a direct or indirect interest in the issue to be dealt with must not be present while it is being discussed and voted on, subject to the grounds for abstention set out in Article 23 of Act 40/2015, of 1 October, on the Public Sector’s Legal System.
The Ethics Committee must issue its reports and recommendations promptly.
A simple majority of the Ethics Committee’s members is required to approve its reports and recommendations.
Members who disagree with the majority agreement may lodge an individual vote in writing within a maximum period of 48 hours, which will be incorporated into the corresponding report or recommendation.
The Ethics Committee shall be tasked with settling cases of abstention and/or recusal of the head of the Analysis Department in accordance with the obligation for confidentiality and principle of maximum secrecy they are subject to exclusively under the regulations governing the Ethics And Good Governance Mailbox on the communications that are known to that Department. The reason for which it shall also be tasked with settling the grounds for abstention and/or recusal in cases that affect all the members of the Analysis Department, including the head.
Grounds for abstention and/or recusal shall be the ones established in Articles 23(2) and 24, respectively, of Act 40/2015 on the public sector’s legal system, as well as when the grounds arise that may lead to (real, potential and apparent) conflicts of interest on the part of that Department’s staff and which may undermine impartiality and objectivity, essential requirements for settling communications in accordance with the regulations governing the Ethics and Good Governance Mailbox.
The Committee will be tasked with issuing the corresponding recommendation in such cases.
The Analysis Department at the Office for Transparency and Good Practices shall be tasked with providing the Ethics Committee with support and assistance.
The Analysis Department shall be the body tasked with managing, conveying and monitoring the requirements issued by the Committee to the various municipal bodies.
The Municipal Institute of Information Technology will provide the necessary tools and systems for guaranteeing that the information put at the disposal of the Ethics Committee’s members ensures their processing with maximum secrecy and confidentiality in accordance with the rules governing the Ethics and Good Governance Mailbox.
The Analysis Department shall be tasked with the corresponding recommendations to the individuals who are subject to this Code. Whistleblowers shall be informed of the recommendations issued by the Committee.
The Department for Strategy and New Projects for Security at the Municipal Institute of Information Technology has designed a secure space for exchanges of files between the respective members of the Ethics Committee and the Analysis Services Department, which meets the functional requirements needed for guaranteeing and maintaining the processed personal data’s confidentiality. The features of the secure environment and its access are included in the manual prepared by the Department for Strategy and New Projects and annexed to these Regulations.