ASP staff get training on the topic of corruption and launch their SOP
Staff from the Agency for Social Protection yesterday attended a training on the topic of corruption led by the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACCS).
The Ministry of Employment and Social Affairs is conducting such trainings for all its staff so that they can be informed about the risks and impacts of corruption and ways by which it can be prevented.
These trainings are being done in collaboration with ACCS.
The session yesterday was officially launched by the Minister for Employment and Social Affairs, Patricia Francourt.
The social affairs department already started the same training and next month it will be the turn of staff of the employment department.
Right on the onset, Minister Francourt stated that “the ministry has always been marred by allegations of corruptive practices. In many instances the reports have not been evidence-based but in order to regain the public’s confidence, we need to act in order to show that we are committed and prepared to do better. Today marks a new beginning, a fresh start in our approach and about the way we conduct our business as a ministry. We are starting on a clean slate in regards to our overall mind-set when it comes to delivering the service that we have been entrusted to do and to our clients’ expectations”.
Minister Francourt added that this awareness campaign comes at the right time as it will provide the staff with all the necessary knowledge to help them remain highly ethical while delivering in their respective functions.
“This will help in raising the trust that the public in general have in our service as it will demonstrate that there is accountability and good governance being embedded across the board. It is very crucial to get staff to understand the need to maintain good ethical practices, to be accountable by recognising that each and everyone has a role to play in upholding what is right, ensuring fairness in decisions taken at all levels resulting to the ministry building a better image and reputable statute,” noted Minister Francourt.
Yesterday was also the launch of the campaign through its first Anti-Corruption training and the introduction of its first Standard Operating Procedure training for welfare application for its front line staff.
“The aim of such is to have an efficient and effective welfare application system to benefit those who are vulnerable in our society. Undeniably, the agency and the other departments of the ministry provide some of the most important services in the country, that we do within the constitutional and legislative framework of our state. Given the importance of our work, there is the necessity to guarantee that the services remain transparent and free of any corruptive practices,” remarked the minister.
The chief executive of ASP, Brenda Morin, shared that when she was appointed CEO in December 2020, “the general perception of the agency among the general public was tarnished in a negative way. I knew I had to change this fast for the benefit of the country and it is still my task! Today, I am proud to see the transformation of the agency in such a short period of time. And this is due to staff being bold enough to accept the inefficiencies within and willingness to bring about the necessary changes for the betterment of the agency. We are ready for this next step, where standard operating procedures, free from corruption become the norm across ASP. Today is the new birth of the agency and the message we are sending out is that the agency is taking its mandate seriously and ‘zero tolerance’ towards abuse and fraud”.
Denis Joubert from ACCS talked about the educational role of ACCS and how it helps in changing our behaviours.
“The Prevention Unit carries out the Corruption Prevention functions described under the Seychelles Anti-Corruption Act, 2016 and they include but not limited to: reviewing and recognising provisions of laws for the prevention of corruption, raising awareness and promoting the values of honesty and integrity among people, organising seminars, symposiums and workshops, identifying the various causes of corruption in the context of socio-economic conditions, adopting and strengthening mechanisms for educating the public to respect the public good and public interest and, in particular while also educating, coordinating or co-operating as applicable, with the institutions authorised and the community on ways to prevent and combat corrupt practices so as to implement an integrated approach to the eradication of corruption. Prevention and Education is perhaps the most important aspect in the fight against corruption.”
“Corruption exists in all forms and in many organisations. The demands for corruption education are very high and without exception, it has been hindered by the pandemic,” shared Mr Joubert.