1. Establishment of SEEDD
The Inspectors-Controllers Body for Public Administration –I.C.B.P.A. (Corps des Inspecteurs-Controleurs de l’Administration Publique-C.I.C.A.P.), known by its Greek acronym SEEDD, was established by Law 2477/1997 and started its operation at the beginning of 1998. It succeeded the Controllers Body for Public Administration, created in 1987 within the Ministry of the Presidency of the Government (now the Ministry of Administrative Reform and E-Government).
SEEDD is not an independent authority; however it is endowed with administrative and operational independence. Since December 2002, it has been operating under the provisions of Law 3074/02 that expanded its powers and the scope of its intervention.
Law 3074/02 provides that SEEDD shall exercise its powers in order to contribute to the efficient and effective operation of public administration and especially to step up the fight against corruption, maladministration, ineffectiveness, low productivity and low quality of the services rendered by the public organizations.
3. Powers and tasks
SEEDD’s powers and tasks for accomplishment of its mission lie in four main categories:
- it conducts inspections, controls and investigations,
- it collects evidence for the prosecution of potential criminal offences committed by civil servants, (such as forgery, bribery, violation of the confidentiality obligation, negligence of duty, theft, blackmail, fraud, etc),
- it conducts inquiries/preliminary examinations after a mandate by the competent Public Prosecutor. Furthermore Public Prosecutors, inform SEEDD of any prosecution against public officials or public servants.
- it reviews the assets of public officials. In this framework, according to the provisions of the Law 3213/03, as amended by law 3613/2007, the Secretary Special of SEEDD may authorize the opening of bank accounts and the access to tax data and records of transactions in the stock market.
4. Field of Intervention
The following entities are subject to control:
a) All public services
b) First and second tier local government organisations (regions, municipalities) and their enterprises,
c) Legal entities of public law
d) State legal entities of private law
e) Public enterprises
f) Enterprises whose Board of Directors is appointed by the State.
SEEDD does not engage in matters falling within the operation of the “independent administrative authorities”, the powers of the Directorate of Internal Affairs of the Police and the Office of Internal Affairs of the Ministry of Mercantile Marine. It does not conduct financial audits and it does not also intervene in disputes between public entities and their employees.
5. Administrative Structure and Staff
According to the provisions of Law 3074/02, the Secretary Special of SEEDD is appointed by the Prime Minister and the Minister of Administrative Reform and e-Government. The Secretary Special of SEEDD substitutes the General Inspector of Public Administration as President of the Coordinating Control Body, at his absence.
In the exercise of his duties, the Secretary Special is assisted by Head Inspectors assigned to coordinate activities related to specific areas of public service.
SEEDD is composed of 112 Inspectors-Controllers and of 40 Assistant Inspectors-Controllers. They are all permanent civil servants of at least university graduate level, selected by a Special Committee chaired by the Secretary Special, to serve for a three-year term, renewable without time restriction after evaluation of performance. Upon completion of nine consecutive years of service, their term is renewed automatically. As required by its broad field of action and the complexity of its task, SEEDD’s Inspectors and Assistant Inspectors are of multidisciplinary background (jurists, economists, engineers, architects, etc.). The selection of personnel is based on professional achievement and integrity.
6. Control Process
The legal framework by which SEEDD was established endows the Body with substantial operational independence in the exercise of its tasks.
The Secretary Special orders the Inspectors-Controllers to conduct inspections, controls or surveys:
a) by virtue of his office (ex officio). It should be noted that one of the basic sources of control and the starting point for the commencement of the SEEDD’s controlling process is, in the first place, its programme of action. Extraordinary inspections, controls or investigations may also be conducted whenever deemed necessary and may be prompted by requests of citizens, press announcements or reports in the mass media that have aroused the public interest.
b) at the order of the Minister of Administrative Reform and E-Government, or
c) at the order of the respective Minister or Secretary-General of a Decentralized Administration, with regard to their subordinate services and the public entities supervised by them and
d) at the request of the General Inspector of Public Administration and the Greek Ombudsman.
The control mandates are signed by the Secretary Special, assigned to individual Inspectors-Controllers or groups of Inspectors-Controllers and Assistant Inspectors-Controllers, depending on the nature of the case examined, and communicated to the services to be controlled. The mandate shall determine the object and purpose of the inspection, control or survey, the service to be controlled and the specific deadline by which the control must be completed with the submission of the relevant report.
Joint groups may be set up between the Inspectors-Controllers and Assistant Inspectors-Controllers of SEEDD and Inspectors of other inspection bodies for conducting wide-ranging inspections controls or surveys.
In discharging their duties, the Inspectors-Controllers and the Assistant Inspectors-Controllers shall be subject to secrecy and shall be obliged to treat the various professional and other information that comes to their knowledge, whatever the means by which this reaches them, in the strictest confidence. The Inspectors-Controllers are not entitled to disclose facts concerning the Body and its work, otherwise disciplinary action can be taken against them.
SEEDD operates with full integrity, impartiality and professionalism, always with full respect of legality and individual rights and freedoms.
The agencies and services falling within the SEEDD’s competence for control are obliged to facilitate the work of the Inspectors-Controllers to the best of their ability and provide them with all necessary documents, information and data for the purpose of the control.
The institutional framework provides for increased powers for the Inspectors-Controllers during the inspections, controls or surveys it conducts. In particular:
· The Inspectors-Controllers are entitled to have access to the files of the services they are controlling and they shall be briefed on all confidential data, unless such data pertain to the exercise of foreign policy, national defence and state security.
· In the event that data is not provided or is concealed, or inaccurate or misleading data is given, or in the event that the work of the Inspectors-Controllers is obstructed or misled, it shall be recommended that relevant disciplinary action be taken against the culpable civil servants for violation of duty.
· If any illegal behaviour of a public official or public employee or member of the administration or elected official of first and second tier local government organisations, is ascertained during a control, the Inspector-Controller’s report shall be forwarded by the Secretary Special of SEEDD to the competent authorities, with a recommendation that disciplinary action be taken against the culpable person or that other measures be taken if the culpable person is not subject to disciplinary control. In such cases the competent authorities are obliged to take disciplinary action against the culpable.
· If sufficient evidence for the perpetration of a punishable act by a functionary or employee or member of the administration of the controlled service emerges from the inspection/control, the General Secretary of SEEDD shall forward the report to the competent Public Prosecutor.
8. Control Reports
After the completion of an inspection, control or survey, the competent Inspectors-Controllers and Assistant Inspectors-Controllers shall draw up a documented report and submit it to the Secretary Special.
The report shall contain a description of the case, a depiction of the current situation, the data submitted or used, the procedures by which the case was investigated, the findings, conclusions and recommendations. The recommendations shall contain specific and feasible solutions, focusing on those that should be given priority for implementation, and analyse their positive impact on the agency or service controlled.
Moreover, the Inspectors-Controllers or Assistant Inspectors-Controllers may recommend, insofar as they deem it necessary, the improvements or reforms to initiated to the institutional framework surrounding the organisational structure and operation of the service, according to the needs of maximum efficiency, and propose measures for reducing operational expenses and the cost of the services provided.
The reports of the Inspectors-Controllers, are submitted to the Secretary General and after their approval by a committee, composed by the Secretary General, his substitute-Head Inspector and the Head Inspector who coordinated the inspection, are communicated to the Minister of the Administrative Reform and E-Government, the relevant Ministers or Secretaries General of the Decentralized Administrations, and the services where the inspection, control or survey took place.
9. Implementation of SEEDD’s recommendations and follow up
The services must report within two months to the Minister of Administrative Reform and E-Government, the General Inspector of Public Administration and the Secretary Special of SEEDD, the actions taken towards the implementation of its recommendations and proposals.
SEEDD monitors the actions of the services controlled and draws up supplementary reports on the implementation or non-implementation of their recommendations.
10. Annual Report
An activities’ report is drawn up every year and submitted by the end of March to the Minister of Administrative Reform and E-Government. The report presents the main subjects of the controls, a short outline of the most important cases and it contains the broader conclusions and recommendations for improvements in the performance and quality of public services, as well as the legislative or other regulatory changes required to be initiated in order to put such recommendations into effect. Finally, the annual reports give information on the implementation of SEEDD’s recommendations.
11. International Cooperation
Alongside its main work, SEEDD has already made moves to forge channels of communication, information and cooperation with public administrations of other countries and above all the member states of the European Union, so that international experience and comparison with parallel institutions may contribute to the consolidation and optimisation of its mechanism for controlling public administration.
During the past years, SEEDD has developed contacts with foreign counterparts from the United Kingdom (Efficiency Unit, National Audit Office), France (IGA), Portugal (IGAP), Spain and the European Anti-Fraud Office.