The object of the study was the TOP-100 State Enterprises, the list of which was taken from the report of the Ministry of Economic Development for 6 months of 2018. The study was conducted in the period from August 1 to September 1, 2019.
The purpose of the study: a survey of state-owned enterprises for the presence and transparency of anti-corruption policies and channels of information about cases of their violation.
The study used information from open sources, registers and official websites of the companies themselves.
According to the search results, no official websites were found in 10 companies, 4 of which are in a state of cessation.
State-owned enterprises were studied according to the following parameters:
- Existence of the Anti-Corruption Program and the Code of Ethics, or other similar document.
- Availability of a Helpline for reporting cases of corruption or business ethics violations and availability of contact information.
- Information channels.
- Technical capabilities of information channels (Hotline’s hours of operation, call cost, feedback, file attachments, multilingualism).
- Possibility of anonymous treatment and protection of whistleblowers.
The statistics on the first two points are quite pleasant.
60% of enterprises have the Anti-Corruption Program freely available on the website, and can be quickly found either by a direct link from the main page or by searching the website.
But such good statistics significantly deteriorate with the quality of these documents. The vast majority contain errors indicating that the document was copied from a typical Anti-Corruption Program even without significant edits1. On many sites, the Anti-Corruption Program is presented in the form of images of various qualities from a pdf file without text recognition to screenshots. Of course, the information in such documents can’t be indexed by search and be copied, which significantly complicates working with them, and can scare away potential informants, and subsequently cause a decline in the company's reputation for contractors.
An interesting fact: a search of one of the surveyed companies found several articles on a high-profile corruption case involving company officials and details of which were covered in the media. At the same time, no mention was made of conducting anti-corruption activities at the enterprise itself.
The Code of Corporate Ethics was found in 58% of the surveyed enterprises. But, unfortunately, only 9 companies have the Code as a separate document, and in the vast majority it is part of the Anti-Corruption Program, and contains standard provisions that do not differ from the provisions of the standard Anti-Corruption Program.
52% of enterprises have any tools in place to inform about violations in the field of corruption and compliance. At the same time, only 34 of them have a separate page for the Hotline, the rest companies mention contacts in the text of the Anti-Corruption Program.
The popularity of the proposed communication channels is quite expected, as the Standard Anti-Corruption Program contains recommendations on the availability of a telephone hotline, e-mail address for notifications and the possibility of personal reception by the Commissioner.
The distribution by telephone hotline hours was quite interesting. Half of the companies have declared round-the-clock work, but only two of them have registered such an essential condition on the page of the Hotline next to the phone. Another company honestly states that the operator works during working hours, and at night and on weekends you can leave a message on the answerphone. For the rest, the round-the-clock operation of communication channels is spelled out in the Anti-Corruption Program by a standard phrase from the Standard Anti-Corruption Program.
Regarding the cost of a call to the Hotline, only 6 companies have a toll-free number for messages, the large share of Hotlines operates using a landline or mobile phone number (21 companies have from 2 to 5 phone numbers to choose from). In two companies, the Hotline is represented only by an internal telephone number, which narrows the circle of potential informants to the staff and significantly complicates communication with external informants.
By the possibility of feedback in the context of state-owned enterprises, we did not mean the legally required response to citizens' appeals, but the possibility of feedback through all channels for identified and anonymous informants. Similar to attaching files to the case — ideally it should be available for any communication channel. However, since only one of the 52 companies with any information channels fully meets these requirements, we decided to introduce an intermediate indicator - partially available feedback and partially available file attachments. This assessment was received by 48 companies that have email for notifications. Interestingly, none of the 7 forms on the sites has the ability to attach files directly.
Regarding multilingualism, it turned out that none of the surveyed sites contained information on the language of appeals that are accepted for consideration. Therefore, we evaluated the language versions of the sites themselves. Of the 90 companies that have a website, 89 have a state language version. Additionally, 49 companies have an English version of the site, and 34 - in Russian. Less popular languages are Chinese (2 sites), Polish (1 site), Dutch (1 site), German (1 site), and another site contains an integrated Google translator. It should be noted that the three sites do not have separate versions for Ukrainian and Russian, and the content of one page can be presented partly in one language, partly in another. The most popular language combinations on the sites are as follows:
On the websites of all companies that have a Hotline and Anti-Corruption Program, the program indicates the possibility of submitting an anonymous message, but at the same time states that it cannot be considered as a request from citizens, so it does not require a response. There is also a guarantee of confidentiality of personal data of the whistleblower, but the organizational and technical details of maintaining anonymity, and with them - valid guarantees that will positively affect the credibility of the whistleblower, are provided by only one company.
Formally, more than half of the surveyed enterprises met the requirements for the availability and openness of the Anti-Corruption Program and the means of informing about violations in the field of compliance and business ethics. But a closer look reveals that the vast majority of documents are copied from standard ones without significant changes, the technical capabilities of the media are quite low and outdated, and the protection of whistleblowers' rights is implemented only by references to relevant legislation.
In general, such a low quality of implementation of NAPC requirements, in our opinion, in no way stimulates whistleblowers, and in some cases may even demotivate them.
We undoubtedly believe that state-owned enterprises in Ukraine should be the flagships of the implementation of international requirements and the latest technologies, because, on the one hand, they feel pressure from supervisors, and on the other - are role models for ethical behavior and competent reporting for many privately owned enterprises.
- For example, in the Standard program "Legal entity" - female, in the program of the enterprise - "State enterprise" - middle gender. All erroneous feminine endings are preserved in the text. Or, blank lines are saved in place for contact information.