FAQs What is the Anti-Fraud Office? We are an independent institution whose goal is to preserve the transparency and integrity of public sector administrations and employees in Catalonia. The priority goal of the Anti-Fraud Office is to prevent and investigate possible cases of fraudulent use or allocation of public funds. This aim encompasses any other irregular appropriation deriving from conduct involving conflict of interest or the use for private gain of information arising out of the functions inherent to the work of public sector personnel. Oversight of our activity corresponds to the Parliament of Catalonia, to which we are accountable. Reporting to the body that represents the sovereignty of all Catalans legitimates our work and guarantees its independence. Following the promulgation of Law 2/2023, of February 20, regulating the protection of persons who report breaches of law and the fight against corruption, the Office is the competent authority to protect whistleblowers with the following functions: Act as an external channel Receive and manage information about the people responsible for the internal information systems of each entity or body required to have an Internal Information System Provide whistleblowers with the support measures provided for in Title VII of this Law (read the answer to the question “Does the complainant receive protection?”) Exercise the sanctioning authority in relation to the offenses specified in Law 2/2023 of February 20: These functions are attributed to the Office until a regulation is deployed in the matter of protection for people who alert of breaches of law in the field of the public sector of Catalonia, as contained in additional provision 7th of the Law 3/2023, of March 16, on fiscal, financial and administrative measures and of the public sector for 2023. Does the Anti-Fraud Office investigate all complaints? Anyone can contact Anti-Fraud to report facts that can be considered to constitute corruption or fraudulent or illegal conduct contrary to the general interests committed in the public sector of Catalonia, or in the activities of natural persons and entities and private companies described in the answer to the question "In which sectors can the Anti-Fraud Office operate?". Following the entry into force of Law 3/2023, of March 16, on fiscal, financial, administrative and public sector measures for 2023, the Anti-Fraud Office is also an external channel competent to receive complaints about the commission of any action or omission included in the scope of application of Law 2/2023. In which sectors can the Anti-Fraud Office operate? The area of activity of the Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia is the public sector of Catalonia. It also includes, additionally, to the extent necessary to fulfill its functions: the activities of natural persons and private entities and companies that are service concessionaires or recipients of public grants, in order to verify the destination and use of the aforementioned grants; the activities of contractors who execute works of the administrations and entities that make up the public sector of Catalonia, or who are assigned the management of public services or the execution of public works by any other title, in relation to accounting, economic and financial management of the service or the work and the other obligations arising from the contract or the Law. The Office is also competent to receive, as an external channel, information affecting the autonomous institutions referred to in article 13.2 of Law 2/2023, and those affecting private sector entities when the non-compliance communicated be circumscribed to the territorial scope of Catalonia. How can I make a complaint? You can submit complaints to the Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia in writing or verbally, and also through a face-to-face meeting. The Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia has an anonymous whistleblower mailbox that allows you to submit the complaint with full guarantee of anonymity. Who has the obligation to make a report of any suspicion to the Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia? Article 16.4 of Law 14/2008 of November 5th, on the Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia, establishes the duty of authorities and directors or heads of public entities or bodies to immediately inform the Anti-Fraud Office of any “facts they detect that might be considered to constitute corruption or fraudulent or illegal conduct contrary to the general interest”. Is it possible for the complainant to remain anonymous? The Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia already accepted the submission of anonymous complaints, and has a specific mailbox that allows you to submit your complaints with full guarantee of anonymity. From the approval of Law 2/2023 (art. 17), of February 20, regulating the protection of people who report on breaches of law and the fight against corruption, it has generally provided that the complaints included in the scope of application of the Law can be submitted anonymously. If the complaint is not anonymous, it establishes the obligation to preserve the identity of the person making the complaint, which can only be disclosed in the cases provided for in article 33 of the Law, and with the precautions established in that same article. If the reporting person identifies himself when submitting the report, the Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia will treat the data that allows him to be identified with total confidentiality, which includes any information from which the identity can be deduced directly or indirectly (art. 16 of Directive (EU) 2019/1937, of the European Parliament and of the Council, of 23 October 2019, relating to the protection of persons who report breaches of Union Law). Does the complainant receive protection? The Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia assumes the commitment to provide assistance and advice to any person who reports and has reasonable grounds to think that the information provided is truthful. If at any time you were the subject of any act of retaliation as a result of having alerted, you can bring it to the attention of Anti-Fraud, which will promote or exercise before the competent authorities the necessary corrective or re-establishment actions, and will record the facts, also, in the annual report presented to the Parliament of Catalonia. The Anti-Fraud Office has seen the possibilities of action to protect whistleblowers be extended, starting with Law 2/2023, of February 20, regulating the protection of people who report on breaches of law and fighting against corruption. Specifically, Title VII of the Law establishes the protection measures for people who report. Conditions of protection (art. 35) Prohibition of retaliation (art. 36) Support measures (art. 37) Is the affected person informed of the complaint? As for the person involved in the facts that are the subject of the investigation, which in application of European Law Law 2/2023 refers to as "affected person", has the right to intervene in the procedure initiated from the complaint (art. 19 of Law 2/2023) and protective measures are also foreseen in article 39. The Anti-Fraud Office Law establishes that if the possibility of involvement in the facts of a person who holds a high position or is an official, manager, member or employee of an institution, body or an entity included in the scope of action of the Office, this person will be informed of the investigation. The Office cannot formulate or issue personalized conclusions or make nominal references in its reports and reasoned expositions if the person concerned has not previously had the real possibility of knowing the facts, so that he can at the same time record his opinion on the facts that directly or indirectly affect him/her. On the other hand, if the Office's investigations affect people who hold high positions, officials, managers or employees, then the person responsible for the institution, body or entity who they depend on or what services they provide must also be informed. All this without prejudice, obviously, to the protection of the identity of the reporting person, provided for in the applicable regulations and which can only be excepted in the cases and with the precautions established by the same regulations. Measures for the protection of the affected persons During the processing of the file, the people affected by the communication will have the right to the presumption of innocence, the right of defense and the right of access to the file in the terms regulated in this law, as well as the same protection established for informants, their identity will be preserved and the confidentiality of the facts and data of the procedure will be guaranteed. Infringements and sanctions foreseen The Office can exercise the sanctioning power specifically derived from Law 2/2023, of February 20, as the competent authority for the protection of people who report breaches of law and anti-corruption violations. Infringements Very serious infringements (art. 63) Serious infringements (art. 63) Minor infringements (art. 63) Sanctions (art. 65) On the other hand, the Anti-Fraud Office does not have sanctioning powers in relation to the facts that are the subject of the investigations. If evidence of a crime is derived from the investigations, the facts must be transferred to the Prosecutor's Office or the judicial authority; if the indications are of administrative infractions (including disciplinary ones), they must be transferred to the competent authority to impose, if appropriate, the corresponding sanctions. It can also make recommendations for improvement to avoid the risks of improper conduct. What should a person do when they receive an inquiry from the Anti-Fraud Office? The natural and legal persons, public and private, included in the scope of action of the Office are obliged to assist it with speed and diligence in the exercise of the functions that correspond to them, and therefore, to communicate to the Office, in an immediate manner, any information they have relating to the facts of which the Office is responsible; failure to comply with this obligation implies incurring the responsibilities provided for by the regulations in force (art. 14 of Law 14/2008, of November 5, of the Anti-Fraud Office of Catalonia). What are the consequences of not cooperating? Law 2/2023, of February 20, regulating the protection of people who report on breaches of law and the fight against corruption, typifies several violations related to the lack of collaboration with the competent authority, the Anti-Fraud Office in Catalonia, such as, for example, that the person requested provides false information or documentation; any attempt or effective action to prevent, frustrate or delay the monitoring of information; that incomplete information is deliberately sent, or extemporaneously or, in general, that the obligation to collaborate is breached (art. 63 of the Law). In addition to these responsibilities and the rest provided for in the applicable regulations, failure to comply with the duty of collaboration will be recorded in the Office's Annual report or in the extraordinary report, as appropriate, that will be addressed to the Parliament of Catalonia.