On 4 December 2017, the Secretary general of the High Authority, Guillaume Valette-Valla, and the deputy secretary general, Alice Bossière, went to Strasbourg at the invitation of French authorities to take part in the discussions in the plenary session of the Group of States against corruption (GRECO), a body of the Council of Europe monitoring the recommendations of the organization in the field of the fight against corruption. This 78th session was notably focused on the evaluation of the United Kingdom in the framework of the fifth evaluation round of the GRECO.
The fifth evaluation round is about preventing corruption and promoting integrity in central governments (top executive functions) and law enforcement agencies. The United Kingdom and Slovenia were the first two countries to be evaluated and the GRECO met on 4 and 5 December 2017 to debate and adopt the reports that were drafted after answering the questionnaire and after a study visit of evaluators and representatives of the Council of Europe and GRECO secretariat. Both reports that were adopted by the Group will soon be published.
The debates on the British report notably focused on the definition of lobbying and the scope of the lobbying register. They also centered on the degree of publicity given to interest declarations of Members of the Cabinet that, unlike in the French system or in other similar schemes in some European countries, are not fully made available. If this discussion did not result in a position of the Group in this sense, the GRECO issued recommendations on top executive functions including one in order to further strengthen the monitoring of post-public employment.
Indeed, this new evaluation round allows to reflect on the implementation of national schemes and to discuss recommendations with regard to interest and asset disclosure, prevention of conflicts of interest, but also monitoring of revolving doors and regulation of lobbying.