The director of the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency debates with the students of the Faculty of Law of the University of Valencia


On March 21, a new university docufòrum of the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency was held. On this occasion, the activity took place in the Hall of Degrees of the Faculty of Law of the University of Valencia, with second-year students of the double degree in Law and Criminology, with the assistance of 72 students of the subject of Constitutional Law II, of which Vicenta Tasa Fuster and Diego González Cadenas are professors.

After seeing the documentary “Corruption: Harmful Organism”, the students take part in the training experience, through reflections and questions that refer to its origin and the causes of corruption, the effect and collective costs it generates in economic terms, institutional quality and public morality.

On this occasion, the director of the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency (AVAF), Joan Llinares, led the debate with the students, answered their doubts and insisted on the need to advance in public ethics and integrity, claiming the value and importance of society civil society and citizenship in the fight against corruption.

Likewise, in the debate, it was highlighted that in order to fight against corruption it is necessary to break with a law of silence and complacency that is socially deeply rooted and it is necessary to be very aware that corruption eliminates the rights and opportunities of a life worthy of citizenship. And, in the same way, the importance of prevention and of a framework of integrity was underlined because corruption encounters greater difficulties, and because a new ethical culture can emerge in social terms.

The students have shown interest in anti-corruption measures at different levels: regional, state and European, as well as the causes and consequences. Many of the questions have also focused on the functions of the AVAF and showed concern about the current regulatory systems to fight corruption. Issues that have served to explain the policies and measures to combat corruption and the progress made in the Valencian Community in recent years, as well as all the work that remains to be done in the social and institutional sphere.

The AVAF develops training actions to offer knowledge and civic awareness, especially to future professionals, and foster a culture of prevention and fight against any conduct that encourages corruption.

This activity has been organized in collaboration with the University of Valencia, to which we thank for their interest and willingness to help create a culture of public integrity and rejection of fraud and corruption.

If you were a university, secondary or high school teacher and you are interested in the “Docufòrum” training activity, based on the audiovisuals of the Corruption Agency: harmful organism, Conflict of interest or Planning, being carried out in your subject, do not hesitate to contact the Training Service of the Valencian Antifraud Agency through

The Ethics Committee of the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency is constituted after the appointment of its members

Valencia, March 22,  2022.- On February 10, 2022, the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency approved the Code of Ethics and Conduct for its staff that includes the ethical principles and values of good governance that must inform all the actions of the Agency and will regulate the impartiality, confidentiality and conduct that must necessarily be observed by the staff, especially with regard to the conflict of interest.

Chapter IV of the Code provides for the establishment of an Ethics Committee to ensure the proper application of the Code and to help resolve all disputes that may arise. Once the people who will be part of this Ethics Committee were appointed, it was constituted last week.

The Committee is made up of two persons from outside the AVAF who have been appointed for a period of four years on the proposal of the AVAF Board of Directors. They are Antonio Penadés Chust and  Mª Luisa Cuerda Arnau.

In the case of Antonio Penadés Chust, he is a member of the Participation Council of the Agency, thus complying with the provisions of Article 35, paragraphs 1 and 2, which states that the Committee will be formed by persons outside the AVAF, one of them being at least a member of the Participation Council.

For her part, Mª Luisa Cuerda Arnau is a professor of criminal law specializing in fundamental rights at the Jaume I University of Castellón.

The third member of the Ethics Committee who has been chosen from among the Agency’s own staff by vote is Amparo Martí Puertes, head of the Support and Expertise Unit.

With the appointments of these persons, article 6.3 is also complied with, which states that the Committee will be composed of a maximum of four people, three of them external from among professionals of recognized prestige in the field of the defense of public ethics, integrity and transparency, among which, at least one will be a jurist and another chosen among the staff of the Agency.

Among the functions of the Ethics Committee are to ensure compliance with the Code of Ethics and Conduct: to promote its dissemination and internalization by the beneficiaries; to inform about the doubts or queries that may arise in the cases of interpretation of the Code; to attend to the internal complaints referred to in the Code; to formulate recommendations on breaches of the Code or to prepare an annual report in which it is explained the degree of compliance with the Code.

The Code of Ethics is available on the Agency’s website and can be accessed via this link:

Ethical organizations

“The first step in the evolution of ethics is a sense of solidarity with other human beings.”

(Albert Schweitzer)

An ethical organization is one that is designed so that its structure and operation fully correspond to the general interest, as well as to the principles of legality, objectivity, transparency, effectiveness and efficiency. In addition to the above, and also consequently, in an ethical organization, ethical public performance, the culture of public integrity and the development of the values that are its own are encouraged, projecting those values abroad. We highlight ten elements of ethical organizations:

1.- Well-formed electronic procedures.  That the inner workings of an organization should be electronic is something that no longer offers any debate  at the present time.  This type of operation would cover both the procedures and the rest of the functional processes of the entity.  The previous work of cataloguing, simplification and procedural reengineering  is key. Debureaucratization is essential. From there, the electronic files are composed of electronic documents signed and / or sealed electronically, formed through electronic actions carried out within a reliable, traceable and traceable system that prevents or hinders to the extreme the possibility of cheating. All this finally ends in an electronic link that must comply with the legal requirements, and on which in turn the transparency and historical memory of the institution will be supported.

2.- Quality electronic services. This point refers to the external part of the electronic administration, referring mainly to the adequate configuration of the platforms for public use, although other instruments such  as social networks or telematic attention  could also be included. These platforms must allow an effective, intuitive, simple, effective and accessible use.  Documents that are already in the possession of the Administration should not be requested, nor should data verifiable by it. In general, bureaucracy should be reduced as much as possible by incorporating responsible statements as far as possible. Excessive bureaucracy is a form of corruption. Priority should also be given to the use of identification systems, unless signature was legally essential.  In addition, the various services must ensure compliance with national  safety and  interoperability schemes.

3.- Automation of simple processes.  At this time, a certain degree of automation of certain actions would already be desirable, thus generating an improvement in agility and efficiency. Regulated procedures and acts allow for greater incorporation of this type of mechanism, given that they do not involve a value judgement. The main tool of automation is the electronic seal, especially the organ seal that is automatically stamped in place of the electronic signature of the employee or authority. The procedures, actions and documents to which it will apply must be identified in advance. Beyond the seals (entity, organ, time, etc …), the extraprocedimental operation  of the entity must progressively incorporate algorithms, as an advanced programming tool and instrument of help in management, guaranteeing in its case the adequate human supervision especially in cases in which the weighting of the circumstances is necessary.

4.- Measures for the legalization of public procurement.  Public procurement has been and still is one of the main focuses of corruption.  Before going to any type of tender, the need report must be made.  Unless otherwise justified in a specific case, a service that already corresponds to an internal department may not be contracted externally. Competition should be promoted, even in minor contracts, and  at least a reliable record of all actions should remain in these  contracts. Such information shall be published in accordance with the provisions of the Act.  Greater planning will in any case avoid the proliferation of certain minor contracts that correspond to periodic and repetitive needs, and therefore foreseeable.  It is also advisable   to use so-called rationalization systems, such as purchasing centers or dynamic purchasing systems.  The specifications of administrative clauses will contemplate the vicissitudes related to the execution of the contract, thereby reducing the conflict and judicialization, especially in large concessions and long-term contracts. Splitting and, as far as possible, modified splitting should be avoided. All phases of the life of a contract must be carried out through electronic means, especially the tender through an approved public or private platform that allows the encrypted presentation of the offers, but also the preparation, formalization, the administrative part of the execution and the invoicing.  In a more advanced stage, the archiving and recording of all performances can be done through the use of blockchain technology.

5.- Active safeguarding of the rights of citizens.  The legal system recognizes individuals, as such, rights of different kinds. After the seamless assurance of the free exercise of fundamental rights and, after these, those of democratic and social participation, the degree of development of the so-called administrative rights is relevant as a thermometer of an advanced society. The right of access to information is particularly important in our area. The Administration works for and for citizens. Users should not be left unattended in any way.  The offices of citizen attention are currently called “assistance”, nomenclature that must be applied in its literal sense.  Ex officio actions should not only be reserved for sanctioning procedures, but also for the recognition or authorization of pre-existing rights of persons who do not request them.  Without prejudice to what is already indicated in the point dedicated to the tender, in general  the legal  procedures that correspond in each case  must be adequately articulated  and that ensure the concurrence and selection in conditions of publicity and equality (subsidies, selective processes, contracts, authorizations …) .  Finally, the most modern dimension of people’s rights must be focused on social justice and sustainability (economic and environmental).

6.- Second generation transparency: open data.  Publishing the information established by the Law is no longer enough. In any case, an organization is not transparent only because it has a portal, and much less if it is not fully electronic, accessible, interoperable and if the information it contains is not reusable.  At this point we must mention again the right of access to information, the safeguarding of which marks the difference between theoretical and real transparency. Likewise, the concept of “Open Government” must be considered in all its dimension: active publicity, access to information, accountability, and effective participation and collaboration.  The so-called “good governance” is transversal, since it is based on a series of values to which  we refer later. Assured all of the above, the element to work on is the data.  Technology (mobiles, sensors, customer experience, etc …) constantly offers us millions of data of public utility. Some are confidential, not only because they contain personal information, but for any other legal reason. The rest can be offered for public knowledge and use. Their usefulness is multidimensional, since they favor aspects as diverse as the economic initiative of entrepreneurs or the very strengthening of democracy.  Obviously, the Administration itself can and should also use that data to reconfigure and improve its services.

7.- Adequate internal organizational structure.  Certain organizations seem purposely designed to be slow and inefficient. Inefficiency, moreover, has a good chance of becoming corruption or fraud. If we know that the contracting of an ordinary service or supply is not able to be managed in less than three months, it is very likely that we will try to go to some other more agile figure, even if it is less legal. Such illegality would not be motivated so much by the animus of favouring a private interest or of contravening the law, as by the desperation of not being able to satisfy an immediate public need in a short period of time.  The origin of slowness in management can be perfectly functional or bureaucratic (self-bureaucracy), but also organizational. In these cases, an essential element in avoiding the problem is the establishment of agile reorganization mechanisms, and the job listings and organizational charts must most likely be updated. No service can be improved without changing internal organisational instruments.  With the passage of time and events, certain jobs are out of print, while others should be redefined or created.  At the top, with respect to the so-called “high positions”, the ideal is an adequate proportion and interrelation of political and managerial positions, the latter should be professionals, not eventual appointed by affinity.  As for the departments, the current circumstances show us that some of them have been oversized or even obsolete, while others are saturated or simply do not exist being necessary, therefore the latter must be equipped or created. In any case, transversality, horizontality and teamwork must go beyond the classic vertical and departmentalized scheme. At present we manage rather  problems or situations and not so much files. And problems are solved by well-communicated and coordinated multidisciplinary teams.

8.- Planning/resilience.  These two words are related, since in some ways resilience is the consequence of planning. The pandemic highlighted the lack of both by a large majority of our public organizations, much more focused on dispatching the urgent than the important, without a culture of planning and much less of measurement, and of course imposing on public employees a system of work by schedule disconnected from performance.  At that moment a great opportunity was missed  .  The work for objectives should have come hand in hand with teleworking.  As for the “high planning”, the strategic one, perhaps it has been called into question by recent events, which clearly distance us from the long-term approach. However, we must not give up having a solid and stable institutional  strategy, a mission, a vision, within which we will fit the plans and the short-term measures.

8.bis.- Budget execution capacity.  This aspect must be a subpoint of the previous one, because not in vain the Budget is the annual plan par excellence.  The ability to execute the entire budget within the year is one of the main measures of the aforementioned principles of effectiveness and efficiency.  It is not possible to attribute good management to those who are not able to spend all the money they budget, since the expenses correspond to the services to be developed and the objectives to be met.  Non-execution is therefore identified with  non-compliance. Obviously, the underlying reason for this inability is almost always or most likely related to the functional inefficiency already mentioned, which, as we see, has both internal and external consequences.

9.- Innovation. Non-innovation means defending a status quo that, over the years, always becomes obsolete. Even methods that work well for a long time need to be updated, especially in times of greatest social change, such as the current one. Not wanting to change is equivalent to not wanting to improve. Consequently, non-innovation is an unethical position and very given to the maintenance of certain “chiringuitos”.  On the other hand, true innovation, although it involves changes, must be oriented to improvement (which is the objective), not to change itself (which is the instrument). In fact, many times it simply involves introducing a few changes, punctual, strategic and of great relative impact.  Innovation is not about turning everything upside down, since total changes are extremely difficult to manage, and many times they are not necessary either. Innovating is a way of being, thinking and acting on the part of modern organizations, having to be less and less rigid and more liquid. Flexibility is adaptation, and adaptability becomes resilience.

10.- Strong ethical roots of public employees.  The vocation of public service must be the true motivation, the strongest belief, the firemark of public employees.  In ethical organizations there is a strong interiorization of the principles inherent in the new public management, such as those of simplicity, clarity, proximity, transparency, rationalization, effective service to citizens, agility, good faith, legitimate expectations, institutional loyalty, responsibility in management, baking and direction by objectives, adequacy of means to the ends, cooperation and collaboration,  proportionality, evaluation, empathy in dealing with other people, gender equality. All this in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.  Add the total political independence.  The service must always be understood as focused on the general interest, without nuances or exceptions. Whoever is most attracted to the pursuit of particular interests has the very legitimate option of working in  private enterprise. Of course, the private-private, because a mercantile of public capital is “public sector”. Let’s see if we find out at once.

Víctor Almonacid Lamelas. Director of Prevention, Training and Documentation of the Valencian Anti-Fraud Agency.

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