Overview of the Integrity Building Process
The Integrity Building Process Details
Step 1 : Orientation Seminars of the LCEs and Lead Civil Servants; Decision to Join the Project
From left to right: Vice Governor Humerlito Dolor (Oriental Mindoro), Governor Daisy Avance-Fuentes (South Cotabato) and Governor Hilario Davide III (Cebu) signs the Integrity Pledge during the Orientation Seminar for the Political Officials of the Pilot Provinces (November 2014, Tagaytay City)
The decision to join Project I4J and to build up and implement integrity mechanisms and improved mechanisms for business and investment promotion in a LGU, to be monitored by a multi-sector Integrity Circle has to come from the local chief executive (LCE) of the LGU, the Mayor or Governor. Given the role and powers of a Mayor or Governor under the Local Government Code of the Philippines, it is crucial that such a key project for the development of the LGU is not only supported but fully pushed by the LCE of the LGU.
As such a decision has quite serious impact on the budget of the LGU, on its internal working procedures and atmosphere, on its relations to business and citizens, the LCE should carefully study the available information on these projects and the experiences and models of the pilot LGUs before making a final decision. It could be helpful to ask representatives from his/her respective League (Cities, Municipalities or Provinces) to consult with him or even to pay a visit to one of the pilot LGUs in order to receive first-hand information from the respective Mayor or Governor and his main civil servants involved.
Based on detailed and reliable information, the LCE will make a provisional decision and inform his respective Local Government League that the LGU would like to become involved in Project I4J. If the League can accommodate this request within the contingent provided for LGUs to be included in Project I4J’s next phase, an invitation for a one-day intensive orientation and training seminar on the project and the integrity building process will be sent to the LCE and two of his key civil servants selected by him/her, together with representatives from other interested LGUs.
During the orientation seminar, the LGU representatives will also get to know the I4J facilitators, who are nominated to assist, mainly through electronic communication and online coaching, the process at the respective LGUs. After the orientation seminar, a final decision to join or withdraw from Project I4J has to be taken by the LGU and communicated to the respective League and the Project I4J team. It is during this phase that the LCE or his/her authorized representative sign the Integrity Pledge.
Normally it is highly recommendable that the LCE involve also the local council or Provincial Board in order to have their agreement and support when implementing the project. Even if the project (including certain budget implications) might be done within the framework of the general budget positions provided for the implementation of national legislation on capacity building of civil servants, effective service delivery and ethical performance, a potential opposition from the local council against the involvement of the LGU would create serious obstacles.
Step 2 : Assessment of the Integrity Situation and Existing Business and Investment Promotion Mechanisms at the LGU
Civil servants from the Province of South Cotabato answering the Integrity Self-Assessment Tool (January 2015, Davao City)
The assessment of the integrity situation in the local administration and of the existing business and investment promotion mechanisms including problems and other challenges is a key step on the way to establish effective mechanisms leading to a culture of integrity. The experiences during the pilot phase of Project I4J showed that it is worthwhile to put time and efforts into this step. At this step, the LCE should appoint a “project coordinator”, be it the administrator or one of the major department heads of the local administration, to be in charge of implementing the further steps. S/He will also be the point person for contacts between the LGU and the respective League as well as the Project I4J team with regard to the involvement in Project I4J.
There are several forms of external evaluation which might be recommendable to apply. For example, a local business organization or chamber of commerce might conduct a confidential survey among their members, asking for their experiences and suggestions for the improvement of integrity situation and business and investment promotion mechanisms. Researchers from a local university could be asked to conduct focused group discussions with pre-formulated questions with groups of civil society representatives, local business representatives and leading civil servants of the LGU. In-depth interviews can be arranged between a media or public relation specialist of the LGU selected by the Mayor or Governor and key civil servants and local business people.
In addition to these forms of external evaluation, it can be extremely useful to organize an internal evaluation with a group of selected leading civil servants of the LGU filling out personally and confidentially a detailed questionnaire on different aspects of integrity and business/investment promotion in the LGU. They are the ones who are involved in all these procedures day by day, and compared to the outsider stakeholders, the business people and citizens affected by corruption, wrongdoings, bad implementation of rules and laws, these civil servants know not only what is happening exactly during these procedures, but they have also a quite accurate understanding why these things happen and how they could be prevented, or at least improved, if political will is present in the LGU’s leadership.
All these types of assessments have taken place in the 9 pilot LGUs of Project I4J. Guidelines, questionnaires and recommendations how to conduct such external and internal assessment and how to evaluate the results are available and would be provided to the new LGUs in the replication process by their I4J facilitators.
The Integrity Self- Assessment Tool for LGUs (ISAT) aims to assist the signatories of the Integrity Pledge in examining the scope and effectiveness of integrity policies and practices in their respective LGUs.
This tool provides a framework that examines focus areas known to be susceptible to corruption and puts forward a set of control measures that can address these vulnerabilities.
It gives LGUs an idea on how they fare in terms of integrity practices. More importantly, the assessment tool provides areas for improvement to strengthen the LGU’s overall integrity. Please see Annex for the complete details of the ISAT.
It is very important to understand that the selection of models or of single mechanisms applied by the pilot LGUs in the pilot phase of Project I4J and documented here in this guidebook should be made at the new LGUs only after serious and careful assessment of their own situation and fields for improvement. It is only upon the conduct of these assessments that the LGU will be able to understand and decide which of this rich collection of models and mechanisms could be suitable to address their own situation and which combination might be most effective.
Step 3 : TWG to Draft Customized Mechanisms for LGU
Members of the technical working group of the Municipality of Tuburan refining the implementation plan of the integrity mechanisms and models for business and investment promotion (October 2015, Tuburan)
After having assessed the integrity situation of the LGU, with a detailed report on vulnerable points, fields for improvement, focus issues as a result, the question to be answered is: how can a first “project concept” be drafted on mechanisms addressing effectively exactly these points?
Experience during the pilot phase of Project I4J confirms that the best way of getting a substantial “integrity mechanism project concept” to be drafted is by setting up a technical working group” (TWG) of qualified, leading civil servants from inside the local administration. The composition of this working group, to be appointed by the Mayor or Governor, should follow the issues identified as relevant in the assessment done in the LGU. Normally it should include leading civil servants from the planning and budget departments, from accounting and internal auditing (if this exists), from procurement and business and investment promotion. While drafting the integrity mechanisms, they could already include meetings with representatives from local business and from civil society organizations working on transparency and ethical performance issues in order to include their concerns and view in the first draft of their working document.
The document drafted by them should be written in simple, not too technical language so that it can also be understood by normal people not specialized on certain technical issues. It should be specific enough to provide entry points for mechanisms which in fact would improve the daily practice of administrative procedures in the LGU.
During the pilot phase of Project I4J, it turned out that the mechanisms to improve the integrity situation at the pilot LGUs are normally related to six different fields:
Textbox 5: Integrity Mechanisms and Models for Business and Investment Promotion. Six Key Result Areas from the Pilot LGUs Experiences
However, not all fields have to be covered. It really depends on which focus areas the assessments have identified for necessary improvement. General guidelines and recommendations for the drafting of these mechanisms have been developed and can be provided to the LGUs (please see Annex III for recommendations on the structure and content of the draft integrity and business promotion mechanisms).
Step 4 : Identifying and Inviting Local Business and Civil Society Representatives to Join
The ones who are suffering under unclear, bulky, ineffective and corrupt procedures and bad performance in the local administration are the citizens and in a specific way the local business. Even if it is true that the civil servants within the local administration know best what is going on and what is going wrong and why, it would be a mistake to let them decide alone how to improve integrity and business/investment promotion mechanisms.
Local business and civil society are key stakeholders for successful and sustainable efforts to improve the performance of the local administration. They have to be involved in the identification of challenges, wrongdoings, bottlenecks and corrupt practices at their local administration, in the decisions on reform and correction priorities and in the design of mechanisms to overcome these problems. Furthermore, they have to be involved in the systematic observation and monitoring of the implementation of the new mechanisms.
As it is not possible to include all business and all citizens continuously in this process, the question is: how to identify the ones who should represent them? There is no perfect answer to this question, and the process will be different from location to location. The general criteria to be applied in the selection of local business and civil society representatives to be involved are:
- They should be interested in and committed to honesty, transparency and integrity;
- They should be respected by their peers, the business community or the general population;
- They should be educated and knowledgeable enough to understand the internal structures and procedures in the local administration;
- They should be independent from the local political leaders and ready to cooperate in a constructive and critical way with the local administration.
It is recommended to involve among the business representatives, leaders from local business associations or chambers of commerce, but also, especially in rural LGUs, leaders of cooperatives or of farmers and fishermen associations. Among the representatives of civil society, leaders from active NGOs, religious leaders, personalities from academic institutions with high reputation and media personalities could be included.
The Mayor or Governor of the LGU might approach personally these potential business and civil society representatives or delegate this task to one of his/her leading civil servants for winning them over to join as active participants, the local administration’s integrity project. For practical reasons, the number from each of the two sectors should be between five to ten individuals.
Step 5 : Orientation Seminars of Local Business and Civil Society Representatives
Similar to the group of leading civil servants involved in the project at each LGU, there has to be a basic orientation and capacity building for these business and civil society representatives to be involved. Project I4J can offer on national or regional level only, trainings for a few of them from each LGU involved. Additional orientation seminars can be organized at the LGU itself by the ones trained nationally or regionally for the other members of the groups, based on the manifold documents and presentations available from Project I4J. Support for these training schemes will be given to the local project coordinators by their national I4J facilitators through electronic or online means.
CSOs from Barira, Buldon, Matanog and Parang municipalities from the Iranun cluster supports the Integrity Pledge signed by their LGUs (January 2015, Davao)
Step 6 : Setting up a Multi-sector Integrity Circle (IC) at the LGU
After these trainings and orientation efforts have been concluded, and before a decision is taken on the set of integrity and business and investment promotion mechanisms to be implemented in the LGU, a multi-sector Integrity Circle shall be set up at the LGU with about twenty(20) members, consisting of more or less equal number of participants from the local administration, from local business and from civil society. The local administration representatives in the IC have to be selected by the Mayor or Governor of the LGU. It is recommended that the IC should include at least some of the members of the TWG. The selection of the members from local business and civil society along the criteria mentioned before is a pragmatic process and should be done in a way that leading representatives of these sectors and the coordinators of the project at the local administration cooperate with each other.
After the selection of the members of the IC has been made, the IC should be set up by an executive order signed by the LCE or if possible, through a local council decision. The IC shall be considered as a consultative body which provides support and critical advice to the LGU in the efforts of improving integrity and effective promotion of business and investment.
During its founding session, it shall decide on its working regulations (please see Annex V for sample IC working regulations). The IC shall meet regularly (could be monthly, bi-monthly, or quarterly) to monitor the progress in the implementation of the integrity and business and investment promotion mechanisms of the LGU. The coordinator of the project at the LGU shall provide a report on the situation, the developments, the achievements and the challenges at the beginning of each meeting of the IC.
The IC and its members shall have the right of access to any information at the different departments of the LGU as well as the right and even obligation to give recommendations or request actions and necessary interventions by the Mayor or Governor and the local council to improve the situation. The work of the IC is not bound to the respective legislative term. It continues beyond the local election dates and the potential changes at the political leadership of the respective LGU. In addition to its monitoring and advisory role, the IC shall also take care of the regular and broad involvement of the general population and specifically of the business community into the integrity efforts through media work and any type of participatory actions.
Step 7 : Implementing Mechanisms and Monitoring Implementation
The implementation of the integrity and business and investment promotion mechanisms in the internal structures and procedures of the LGU cannot be under the direct responsibility of the IC as a body since it operates outside the local administration. It has to be coordinated and controlled by a senior member of the local administration, tasked with this responsibility directly by the Mayor or Governor of the LGU and reporting to him/her regularly. It can be the administrator of the LGU or a senior director of a relevant department of the local administration.
This implementation is a medium and even long term process which requires renewed efforts. And in many cases, the implementation also needs amendments and changes if it turns out that the original plan was not viable in some aspects or that during its implementation, new ideas or approaches are developed to help achieve the objectives.
In the implementation process, the local administration with the LCE, the implementation coordinator and its involved departments and the IC are partners. All sectors should work together to achieve a sustainable culture of integrity at the respective municipality, city or province that will attract job creating investments. They will be supported by two (2) facilitators from Project who are in charge of providing regular monitoring and counselling advice through electronic and online communication with the coordinator in the local administration and the chairperson of the IC.
The European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (I4J), which is active partner in the Project I4J consortium, will be happy to provide information on the LGUs involved in the project and their progress in implementing their integrity and business and investment promotion mechanisms to interested European and other foreign companies.
Step 8 : Exchange of Experiences, Setting up a Network of Integrity LGUs and Integrity Circles
Stakeholders from the Pilot LGUs attend the international conference on “Local Partnerships for Integrity and Job Creation in the ASEAN: Learning from the Philippine Experience” (August 2015, Manila City)
In 2016, several exchange workshops and meetings will be organized by Project I4J in order to assist the participating LGUs from all over the Philippines to discuss and exchange their experiences among each other even beyond the exchange platform provided on the website of the project. This will lead to the establishment of an Integrity Network of LGUs and their multi-sector Integrity Circles as a sustainable part of the Integrity Initiative.