The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) published policy measures to avoid corruption and bribery in the COVID-19 response and recovery in May 2020. The focus of this brief is to help policy makers, donor agencies, law enforcement officials and the private sector ensure that the global response to the crisis is not undermined by corruption and bribery. The document highlights five important measures including: Respecting the rule of law: For example, Compliance with the OECD Anti-Bribery Convention and the related 2009 Recommendations ( Internal controls, ethics and compliance and foreign public officials), the OECD Recommendation on Public Integrity, and other key instruments such as the 2016 Recommendation of the Council for Development Co-operation Actors on Managing the Risk of Corruption.   Address immediate risks in emergency procurement: Whilst remaining cautious of urgent needs, corruption risks should continue to be identified, assessed, and actively mitigated on an ongoing basis, including by raising awareness of mitigation strategies. Ireland’s Office of Government Procurement is called out as an example of good practice for developing an information note on good practices for contracting authorities during the COVID-19 outbreak.   Accountability and control of the economic recovery measures: Anti-corruption risk assessments should be integrated throughout programme design and delivery phases. Actual instances of corruption and bribery should be addressed comprehensively, using a whole-of-government or organisation approach where possible.   Business ethics, internal controls, and compliance: Ensure a risk-based approach to good governance, business integrity and internal controls. The use of business intermediaries should be carefully considered.   Enforcement of corruption and bribery cases: In particular, whistleblowers are critical and must be protected.The use of existing reporting mechanisms should be encouraged, and reports of misconduct taken seriously and investigated   Further guidance on each measure is available in the brief.

Jul 03, 2020

International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA) published a list of considerations for ethics and independence arising from Covid-19. In the foreword, IESBA Chairman, Dr. Stavros Thomadakis, highlights “being honest, competent and objective are virtues heavily valued for all professionals, particularly in adversity. Professional accountants are advantaged by having a highly developed, clear and well-structured international Code of Ethics guiding their judgement and behaviour”. The considerations, presented in a Q&A format in the document, include: Considerations for all professional accountants: Threats to the fundamental principles of the Code of Ethics – i.e. Objectivity, integrity, professional behaviour, professional competence and due care, and confidentiality. Safeguards against threats to the fundamental principles. Pressure arising from Covid-19 related issues. Preparing and presenting information. Non-compliance with laws and regulations (NOCLAR)    2.  Considerations for auditors and other professional accountants in public        practice: Fee considerations, including overdue fees, in the Covid-19 environment. Provision of non-assurance services, including providing advice and assistance. Long association, including partner rotation. Communication with those charged with governance.

Jul 03, 2020
Professional Standards

The new Insolvency Code of Ethics has now been approved by IAASA and will be effective from 8 June 2020. The Insolvency Code of Ethics constitutes Part 5 of the Code of Ethics for members of Chartered Accountants Ireland and replaces Part D of the previous Code of Ethics.  Parts 1 to 4 of the revised Code of Ethics are effective since 1 March 2020.  The full Code of Ethics (Parts 1-5) are available to read in the Ethics Resource Centre. The code has been updated following a consultation on possible revisions and to adopt the drafting format used by the International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA). The accountancy Recognised Professional Bodies (RPBs) use the IESBA approach in their main ethical codes. What is different? The new format differentiates between requirements (identified by an R) and application material (identified by an A). There is an entirely new section on the insolvency practitioner as an employee which emphasises that an insolvency practitioner is required to comply with the Insolvency Code of Ethics irrespective of their status within a firm. The sections on obtaining specialist advice and services, agencies and referrals, referral fees and commission and inducements have all been expanded. There is a new section on Responding to non-compliance with laws and regulations based on IESBA material. There are new examples specific to the Republic of Ireland. Although the new Insolvency Code of Ethics does look a little different, the fundamental principles of integrity, objectivity, professional competence and due care, confidentiality and professional behaviour remain as the key concepts in the code.

Jun 01, 2020