Many municipalities in Quebec want to show their commitment to prevent corruption by implementing programs and risk management.
In recent years, Quebec municipalities, as well as the provincial government, have not been spared from the corruption concerns that have greatly tarnished the reputation of the municipal and provincial world.
Through scandals and media headlines, this phenomenon is also reflected in the rest of Canada and around the world.
As a result, many municipalities in Quebec want to demonstrate to taxpayers their commitment to preventing corruption and other wrongdoing by implementing programs and risk management in this regard. While some large cities can afford a full-time Inspector General, this isn’t the case for all municipalities.
The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has instituted ISO 37001 to provide public and private organizations with a mechanism for demonstrating to stakeholders a level of quality assurance and integrity in proxy processes. This is why some municipalities would like to take the necessary steps for aligning with the standard or obtaining ISO 37001 certification.
Did you know that…
According to ACFE’s 2018 Report to the Nations, corruption is the main offence in eleven of the fifteen sectors of activity identified, the main offence in five of the eight high-risk departments and represents 62% of all crimes committed by senior managers and executives, and 77% of all crimes committed in proxy departments.
What are municipalities doing to deal with corruption?
Nowadays, transparency, ethics and social responsibility are values high in demand that somehow reflect the evils of our society: a general lack of trust. This widespread feeling undermines the credibility of the public service, including municipalities on the front lines.
To address this and exhale these values, it becomes imperative for municipalities to have thorough administrative systems and measures in place to manage risk and protect the organization.
Prevention is better than cure
The ISO 37001 standard is recognized throughout the world and defines an anti-corruption management system that establishes the procedures to be introduced for preventing, detecting and mitigating corruption. This standard identifies measures to be implemented within organizations that seek to adopt best practices and demonstrate their commitment to ethics, transparency and accountability.
In concrete terms, the purpose of applying the various clauses of this standard is to train and raise awareness among all municipal staff working directly or indirectly in the field of municipal contracts. Whether the choice is to align with the standard or obtain accredited certification under ISO 37001, organizations must ensure that they have an anti-corruption management system in place to prevent, detect and mitigate risks.
Ethics and compliance – The new tool for prevention, transparency and accountability
For municipalities, adopting such a policy helps show the population that public actors do not evade corruption and that they are taking all necessary measures to fight it by adopting best practices.
In addition, the implementation of ISO 37001 makes it possible to establish a climate of trust and predictability with business partners and set more rigorous parameters in the proxy process. These parameters will motivate, if not require, contractors and suppliers to demonstrate their own commitment to ethics and anti-corruption measures if they wish to continue doing business with municipalities.
Beyond the image and trust aspect that this standard conveys for municipalities, it is also necessary to look at the competitive advantages that it generates for service providers.
Reduce costs and increase productivity
The commitment to adopt ethical practices and a robust compliance program with regard to integrity and anti-corruption provides a clear competitive advantage for providers.
In addition to reducing legal and reputation costs and risks, such a program supports the development of a culture of organizational integrity that results in increased productivity and higher quality products and services.
In a context where municipalities evaluate contracts on the basis of alignment or ISO 37001 certification, providers demonstrating their commitment to ethics and compliance will have a competitive advantage over their competitors.
The introduction of these processes is intended to restore citizens’ confidence in their municipal administration. This approach establishes a consistent and predictable regulatory proxy framework based on an ethical organizational culture that enhances transparency and accountability.
In an environment where municipal leaders must demonstrate their proactive actions to counter corruption, collusion and other wrongdoing, the question is not about the need for a compliance program, but about the scope and implementation.
Thanks to the strength of Raymond Chabot Grant Thornton’s network and our partnership with leading experts in the anti-corruption field, we are able to offer a multidisciplinary service focussed on sound risk management and ethical governance.
Through a proven approach, we offer advice and support for the implementation of best practices in compliance and anti-corruption management systems within your organization, which may eventually qualify you to receive, if you wish, international ISO 37001 certification.