The “protection of whistleblowers” against cases of fraud and corruption starred in the UV-AVAF conference

“Protection of whistleblowers” gathered in the Old Torrent Market and via streaming around 100 people, including public employees and employees, the university community and citizens interested in the debate on the implications of the obligation to transpose the European Directive 2019 / 1937 on the protection of persons who report violations of Union law, also known as Whistleblowers.

The conference was held within the framework of the existing collaboration agreement between the Vice-Rector’s Office for Territorial Projection and Society of the University of Valencia and the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency, with the collaboration of the Faculty of Law and the City Council of Torrent.

The Conference was opened by the Mayor of Torrent, Jesús Ros Piles, the Vice-Rector for Territorial Projection and Society of the University of Valencia, Jorge Hermosilla, and the Director of the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency, Joan Llinares. The three insisted on the necessary institutional collaboration

At the first round table on the protection of whistleblowers and the complaints box in Directive 2019/1937, the moderator was Joan Llinares, director of the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency. The professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Valencia, Lorenzo Cotino, focused his presentation on the anonymity of the complainants or whistleblowers. He made an interesting tour on the evolution of the term ‘anonymous complaint’ and its introduction or mention from different institutions: Public Prosecutor’s Office, General Agency for Data Protection, State Attorney General’s Office, Supreme Court … pointing out that the great leap is given by Law 11 / 2016 of the creation of the Agency for the Prevention and Fight against Fraud and Corruption of the Valencian Community by expressly acknowledging anonymity. On the other hand, he insisted that information can be transmitted to the administrations by means of the facts so that they are the ones who initiate the files they consider.

For his part, the Director of Analysis and Research of the Agency, Gustavo Segura, focused the presentation on the complaint channels to which the European directive binds and obliges. The EU Directive establishes the protection of individuals as a fundamental objective and it is understood that the highest level of protection is anonymity. The complaint, whether anonymous or not, is a source of information, and by itself does not initiate any procedure. Gustavo based part of the intervention on the experience of the complaints box that the Agency has in operation since mid-2018, and that as indicated by the Directive in its art. 12 is bi-directional and allows anonymity.

The second table, moderated by Anselm Bodoque, head of the Agency’s Training Service, on the importance of anti-corruption agencies within the framework established by directive 2019/1937, was attended by Teresa Clemente, director of Legal Affairs of the Agency, and Fabiola Meco, professor of Civil Law at the University of Valencia.

Teresa Clemente in her presentation made a tour of the regulations that guarantee protection since 2003, the United Nations Convention on Corruption, the Group of States against Corruption until the European Directive 2019/1937 approved unanimously by the European Council. He presented the network of regional or local anti-fraud offices and agencies in the Spanish territory, mentioning the institutional declaration that urges the competent institutions of the Spanish state to transpose the directive into their own legal system. For this, he used a tour of the different initiatives of political groups. As in the previous intervention of the Agency, part of the presentation was based on the experience of 4 years attending requests for protection of whistleblowers, with only 2 cases of protection contested. The AVAF currently has 26 people who have been granted protection status.

Professor Fabiola Meco, for her part, based the presentation on explaining how a pioneering law was forged and was three years ahead of the European Directive. He emphasized the context of the moment -social, political and normative- since it visualizes the importance of the objectives for a cause that has the general interest and the people at its center. Context in which the fight against fraud and corruption was understood as the axis of change, and it materialized in the Law creating the AVAF. He pointed out the meeting points and disagreements at the moment of gestation, as well as those essential points: independence of the Agency, adequate resources, protection of the complainant, sanctioning power. All this to conclude with the need for a Valencian system of public integrity: respect, collaboration and institutional loyalty.

The closing conference was given by the professor of Political Science and Administration of the University of Murcia, Fernando Jiménez, accompanied at the table by Rosario Serra, professor of Constitutional Law at the University of Valencia. The speaker structured his participation in the obligations, implications and obstacles of the European Directive. From there, he spoke of the complaint channels, internal and external, as safe, confidential and effective channels. And the protection of whistleblowers by guaranteeing non-retaliation, support measures and sanctions. I underline the need to encourage and protect those who report truthful irregularities, as well as to promote the necessary training to achieve a cultural change. He ended the intervention with examples that highlight the risk of certain concessions or inconsistencies that jeopardize the investigation procedures, as well as the independence of the agencies.

The day in Torrent closed Joan Llinares, the director of the Valencian Antifraud Agency, recognizing as essential the academic and social discussion to improve the forms of prevention and fight against practices of corruption and fraud in the management of public affairs, as well as the debates basic to strengthen civic education and collective public ethics. And once again he thanked the necessary institutional collaboration to make possible conferences like the current one to publicize not only the international regulatory framework that obliges us, but also the work that is already being carried out.


Video of the UV-AVAF Conference “Protection of whistleblowers” on November 16, 2021 in Torrent.

Guide for Developing Public Integrity Plans Related to Next Generation Funds. Visual didactic manual “Conflicts of interest, in terms of public integrity”

The AVAF makes this GUIDE available to any entity or person included in its scope of action, which, as its name indicates, is intended to serve as a ROAD MAP with regard to the minimum contents of public integrity plans, having integrated into its general lines the requirements and guidelines related to Next Generation funds. At the same time, the guide intends to accompany them in the process of elaboration and implementation of said plans, putting at their disposal XXI FACILITATING ANNEXES of this commendable task that allows Valencian public entities to position themselves in favor of the culture of public integrity, with tolerance zero towards corruption, in this case, through the preparation, approval and implementation of its integrity plan in relation to all its practice areas, resulting in an improvement in the control (internal and external) of the public budgets of Valencian entities, and not only those coming from the financial budget of the European Union.

The guide incorporates as an annex and complement to the same the visual didactic manual “Conflicts of interest, in the key of public integrity”, approved by Resolution of the Director of the AVAF no. 808, of November 10, 2021.

You can consult it in the following link

5 reasons to debate the prevention of corruption in the classroom

5 reasons to debate the prevention of corruption in the classroom

Corruption: harmful organism the documentary, produced by Pandora Box TV, has been seen by more than 1,200 male and female university students through the docu-forum activity of the Training Service of the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency (AVAF).

The debate on corruption in our society and its effects, as well as the damaging costs that it entails for collective interests, was incorporated into the classrooms of Valencian universities in 2019.

The need for a culture of fraud prevention and rejection of corruption goes through promoting the need for a demanding civic ethic among all citizens and, significantly, among the younger generations who are in universities and institutes.

This documentary, made thanks to crowdfunding, exposes the testimonies of whistleblowers of the so-called “proximity corruption” and has the subsequent colloquium in which representatives of the AVAF, academics and judges who deal with the institutional initiatives carried out in recent years to improve the fight against corruption.

The main characteristics of the first ones of the docu-forum were to hold large face-to-face lectures, with more than 130 students participating in a single docu-forum.

The pandemic forced the reconversion of the format, opting for videoconferences, still designed with the logic of conference-debate with a large number of students following the training activity, in some cases reaching almost 200 attendees to a single document forum.

At present, after 19 docu-forum activities held, the video-conference-questions format has been overcome and the activity has three phases (viewing of the documentary Corruption: harmful organism, preparation of questions by the students and subsequent meeting-debate with the students). students), with the intention of achieving a learning experience closer to the students, where their doubts and questions are the basis and common thread of the intervention of the AVAF staff in the university classroom.

Throughout these last 3 years, there have been many benefits of the celebration of the docu-forum activity in the university students. So we identified 5 reasons why the document-forum learning experience in the classroom is positive:

  1. Approach and publicize the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency, its objectives and functions.

The Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency is a public entity, created by Law 11/2016, with only a few years of existence, of whose knowledge many young people are still not aware.

It has its own legal personality and full capacity to act. Independent from the rest of the public administrations, impartial and neutral. The AVAF is attached to Les Corts, which appoints its Director.

The Agency’s objectives are to prevent and eradicate fraud and corruption. Promote integrity and public ethics in public institutions, as well as the promotion of a culture of good practices and the rejection of fraud and corruption.

Analysis, investigation, whistleblower protection together with prevention, training and documentation are the functions carried out by the AVAF in the field of the fight against corruption.

The AVAF pays special attention to the protection of complainants and this is one of the issues that arouses the greatest interest among university students in the document-forum sessions.

  1. Generate debate in the classroom.

Faced with the disconnection between public administration and citizens, this gap being the most significant with youth, the presence in the classroom of an institution such as the AVAF, aims to contribute to a rapprochement and humanization of public administration.

In the docu-forum activities, the students openly raise their concerns about the effects and costs of corruption, the independence necessary to prosecute this scourge, and the necessary protection for whistleblowers who report risks in public institutions.

Corruption blocks the progress of society, diminishes the capacity of the State and affects citizens’ access to essential services such as health and education.

  1. Convey to students the need for their active role against corruption.

Corruption: harmful organism aims to transfer to the classroom the relevant role that citizens have to play as a barrier to the risks of corruption that may arise in society.

The transition from passive citizen to activist citizen involves asking questions: How does corruption affect me? What can I do to reduce corruption? It is the first step to generate co-responsibility in the fight against a blight that undermines the credibility of the public administration and society.

Become aware that it is a citizen’s duty to demand regulatory compliance and implement institutional integrity in public bodies, as well as to make visible the risks of corruption in social networks as means of dissemination within the reach of citizens.

The docu-forum experience in the classroom, aims to make visible the relevance of youth in defending the rights and responsibilities of all against corruption and the speaker in which they can become active members of society.

  1. Create awareness of the existence of various types of corruption.

In the docu-forum, the question about what is understood by corruption and where it is most present is recurrent.

Corruption of proximity or long-range, episodic or systemic. Bribery, gratuities or tampering with evidence. The risks and alerts of activities contrary to the general interest are manifested in a multitude of ways and with different scopes. But all of them always lead to the loss of the rule of law and well-being and to the lack of understanding of the citizens for the work of public organizations.

Not only should it be attended to alerts about corruption but also to focus on fraud, administrative irregularities and behaviors constituting an administrative or disciplinary offense, as well as reprehensible behaviors and activities, contrary to efficiency, integrity, public ethics and good governance. , as they can be superfluous or unnecessary expenses.

Risks of corruption are not only present in political or economic organizations, but alerts can occur in the institutions closest to the citizenry and young people must be aware of the existence of a culture that sometimes accepts reprehensible practices as a threat. normalized performance and youth can also be erected as a barrier against fraudulent actions.

  1. Exchange of experiences.

The possibility of having the presence of the technical staff of the AVAF to interact with the students about the importance of prevention and the necessary generation of a culture of rejection of behaviors that can lead to fraud is a positive practice for the debate in the classroom. It involves showing a reality of which the students may not be fully aware of the implications and negative effects that corruption produces on society as a whole

At the same time, it also supposes an exchange of experiences and visions, since it allows knowing the corruption alerts from the perspective of the youngest, their concerns and appreciations on the subject.

From the docu-forum activity, from this exchange of experiences, a rich debate and reflection arises in the classroom that aims to go beyond the mere duration of the class.

Going further, that the documentary training activity becomes an authentic learning experience for the students is the objective and victory, when the debate on the importance of the fight against corruption penetrates the training classrooms and permeates the conversations of the students. university students and reaches the hallways, cafeteria and each of the young people’s families.

“Corruption: harmful organism”, the documentary that has been present in classrooms of all the public universities of the Valencian Community, as well as in the CEU Cardenal Herrera University, wishes to make the leap to high school and high school classrooms in 2022.

Why there is much to do #NoToCorruption #NoALaCorrupcion # UnidosContralaCorrupción

PS: If you are a university, Secondary or Baccalaureate teacher (or you know one) and you are interested in the Docufórum: Corruption, harmful organism training activity being carried out in your subject, do not hesitate to contact the Training Service of the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency through

Pilar Moreno García

Training Technician

Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency

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