Integrity reinforcement

The Problem

Before the initiative, several processes needed human interaction between our company, the RCAR and all its stakeholders and no one could say if corruption was existing.
Considering our suppliers for instance, strong human interaction was existing with them as buying processes were managed manually. This had as consequences that procedures were not transparent towards our suppliers as only few information were posted and the only possible way of getting information for them was the phone call, which was not automatically traced and registered.
Considering our staff and services delivered to our clients, some steps in the calculation process to determine the pension amount or the pension payment process were not automated, causing risks of errors, voluntary or involuntary. One can even imagine that some pensioners could be “ghost pensioners”, which means some people could be paid instead of others who may not exist for real…
These mere examples are only samples of services delivered to our stakeholders. All other services are very numerous. They show the existing risk of corruption due to unautomated processes. Not only deadlines are extended and dissatisfaction increased when processes are managed manually and no controls are put in place, but there may be the temptation to monetize the services if the actors in the public service are of little morality.
Financial flows are considered very sensitive as our company manages fourteen funds, a recovery of 304 M$ each year, 476 M$ of paid pensions, 632 529 contributors and 200 221 pensioners.
Considering those figures, the risk of collusion between any manager or resource in charge of the payment or any sensitive position and any customer of the company not only exists but its impact could be considerable if proved. Not securing the processes of the company could led to high cost of non-quality, client loss of confidence, image deterioration, overconsumption of resources, waste of time and possibly serious corruption. Apart those figures, the activity can be qualified complex as about 20 processes are managed, including management, support and operational processes. So the main problem before the initiative was to think about how to avoid potential corruption, which could be difficult to detect considering the volume of managed data and the fact that lots of processes were managed manually and not automatically.
Consequently, a program aiming at modernizing the management system, preventing and combating corruption had been launched, according to 3 axis, use if ICT, prevention and education, with principally ICT and quality as lever actions. The initiative aimed at reducing all these human interactions and reinforcing controls especially in sensitive stains; by doing so, temptation of corruption would be strongly reduced. The challenge was even greater as most staff were working under comfort conditions since long time. Use of Information Technology was a necessity to better prevent corruption and lots of new points of control were to be established and secured in accordance with repositorys of excellence retained by the company.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
The advantages resulting from the initiative were measured on recipient side, mainly stakeholders’ satisfaction which could increase positively. This is also to be put in concordance with the increase of the contribution of our company in quality in the public sector at the national scale . So all satisfaction rates, have been a steady increase : between 2007 and 2011, the staff satisfaction rate has evolved from 69% to 76% whereas the customer satisfaction has increased from 76% to 86%. Suppliers rate decreased from 86% to 82% in the over the same period but due to payment arrears.
On the client side, automating processes caused less claim processing for the front-office desk team and less clients coming in our customer area, causing less interaction with our customer responsibles as they benefited from the improvement of the quality of service and from the reduction of their files processing time. More generally, we could observe a reduction in the cost of non-quality and an increase of the contribution of RCAR in quality in the public sector. In other terms, we could better match clients’s needs and our offer by increasing what is not enough produced, reducing what is exceeding the needs , eliminating all what is not necessary : delays, complexity, accidents, waste of time, considering all these non-quality factors as potential corruption source.
On the suppliers side, having more transparency on the procedures allowed them to have access directly to information they needed in short time and they expressed their satisfaction through satisfaction surveys that our company launches every year.
On the staff side, the organisational and cultural change led all staff members to challenge themselves everyday and to question themselves about their beliefs and values permanently and to develop their learning capacities. Doing this, the motivation at work was stronger than the potential annoyance that can be found traditionaly in many public companies. Having a highly motivated team is with no contest probably the best way to eliminate causes that serve corruption. Moreover, internal control with several levels and audits become natural in people’s mind whereas they were considered disturbing indeed abnormal before the beginning of the program. At a lower level, a code of conduct was elaborated, listing authorized practices to better clarify what could be considered as legal or unauthorized.
This initiative allowed the RCAR to promote transparency, prevent corruption and contribute positively to the improve of public quality. Thus, our company showed that it was able to satisfy essential needs under the general interests at the right cost and the achieved goals were evaluated directly by their beneficiaries, that is to say clients, suppliers staff and collectivity.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
Some years ago, there was the creation of an agency named ICPC whose mission is to fight against corruption. To be effective, the agency was responsible for building a committee with highly skilled people to think together on initiatives that could be implemented on the e-gov program and on contribution of the ICT in combatting corruption.
Our solution was connected to our participation into this steering committee, with principaly senior officials of the administration and other contributors carefully selected, as it was proposed by the management of our company in accordance with the agency, which was in the same time in charge of the conceptualization of a strategy at the national level. The ICPC acted as an advisor on how to reform the system and review the processes to combatting corruption. It acted in a partnership mode with us.
On the other hand, the initiative was conceived inside another bigger plan of modernizing the management of our company where ICT were considered as the main mean and a great lever to materialize the fight against corruption.

By experience, the success of large-scale initiatives can not be guaranteed only if all staff implied in the implementation are associated from the start. Therefore, the implementation plan provided for the involvement of all staff, mainly through education and training : awareness of the issues and consequences of corruption and training on quality tools and new information technologies. The whole plan was prepared as part of a strategic planning process that declined in the strategic policy objectives from the vision for the company. These objectives were converted into projects and actions with a level sufficiently thin to assign individuals to empower all and to measure the contribution according to the annual achievements. Specifically, almost the entire staff was involved in the implementation, with each level of responsibility rightful.
Therefore, one of the key success factors of the initiative was the attention paid to human resources. To make the program successful, an objective directly linked to human resources was made under the responsibility of each high level manager as the company had defined the pursuit for wellbeing and the satisfaction of the employees as a mayor part of the combatting corruption program. Fighting against corruption necessarily implied blooming of the employees and active participation and making visible the contribution of each member. This contribution should allow measuring the individual performance and also the collective performance at the same time. So the implication and the valorization of the human capital really constituted a strategic lever for project success.
Citizens have also been involved in the implementation of the initiative as they were asked to denounce the opacity wherever it occurred and give us their feed-back over complaints management . On the other hand, measuring the customer level of satisfaction was a kind of “sword of Damoclès” on our institution as dissatisfaction was immediately pointing the process and consequently the project manager of the process and its team who should justify poor performance.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
The strategy implemented by the company was based on the use of ICTs, prevention and education.
The first axis defined a portfolio of projects aiming at maximizing the created value for the customer and reducing the risk of corruption by totally automating the processes and dematerializing the flows to promote transparency of administrative procedures. Management wanted to eradicate any manual intervention and to make it possible for clients to submit their requests and have automatic support as much as possible. In concrete terms, one of our strategic objectives was to optimize the management means, which was declined into the improvement of the quality of the organization. This objective was grouping all innovative projects linked to any source of value relevant to dematerialization, automation, remote information access or decision support. Another important strategic objective was the satisfaction of the stakeholders, in particular the clients as the rate to reach in a first step was 80%. Doing so, lots of procedures were made through direct public scrutiny.

Regarding the prevention axis, the Top Management first redefined the organization of the company by creating 2 new control departments : risks and audit. Risk managers had the responsibility of identifying operational risks and establishing a global risk management system; it consisted in analyzing all processes of the company and to watch the system through risk indicators, which were subject to restitution once every month. Each indicator had an acceptable range outside of which explanations should be provided over the non-compliance. Managers had to review the performance of their processes with their team regularly and had to present the results in a direction review gathering the Top Management once quarterly.
On the other hand, the audit department was in charge of targeted audits and internal control to detect loopholes and bad practices that could conduct to corruption. This department acted anytime, upon the request of the Top Management, if anything was in doubt.
These regular system reviews could make the separation of functions and the segregation of duties more effective : on the one hand operational people who do the job ; on the other hand, a group of controllers.
The strategy on the education axis consisted in defining an integrity management program; the aim was to educate employees to behave better to the customer, to be more sensitive to the consequences to the corruption, to reduce the temptation to commit bribery and to encourage whistle-blowing by fostering citizen involvement in reporting corruption, knowing that punishment of people caught in the act would be exemplary.
This program took various forms:
- seminars on issues of the corruption
- workshops grouping different employees implying human resources, legal department, risks and audit departments and some representatives of the profession to think about some issues. The reports following those workshops formed the basis of the work of a consultant whose mission was to write the code of conduct of our company.
- focus on staff’s recruitment, hiring, promotion which were to be based on merit and aptitude.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
Maximisation and optimization of ICT use was the major part of the combatting corruption program. It consisted in a portfolio of projects launched since 2006 including two major phases : the first phase (aiming at becoming an excellence center at the national level) was completed 3 years later whereas the second phase covered the period 2009-2013 (aiming at becoming a reference in the middle-east and Africa Region). The created value was supposed to promote both disintermediation and acceleration of the procedures. The portfolio aggregated several IT projects whose main were :
- automation of internal and external processes with vulnerability zones like liquidation of pension
- dematerialization of entering paper flows
- exposure of maximum web services to the citizens in order to allow them work remotely with a minimum human interaction with public officers
Secondly, concerning the prevention means, at the launching of the program, the organization was changed as there was the creation of the audit department in April 2010 which took about 5 months and in parallel the separation between control functions and executive functions to regularly conduct system reviews and analysis .
Before that period, since 2004, there had been the identification of all processes during 6 months, modeling of the processes during 4 months and process indicators definition and then monitoring and improvement of the processes, completed in 2006. Other measures had been taken in the purchasing department as preventing corrupt practices consisted in incorporating anti-bribery clauses in tendering documents with contractors, in addition to the classical probity clauses. These kind of clauses were supposed to prohibit tenderers from offering corrupt gifts to the staff in charge of treating the act of purchase.
In addition to the internal audits led by our department we have also had an audit from the National Court of Auditors which lasted till 2008 ; it revealed a proper management without fraud.
Thirdly, in addition to the Management by example and performance-based assessment which began before 2006, attention had been focused on prevention on the human resource side as a project named “Code of conduct” of the company was launched on a period of 8 months in 2011, during the second phase mentioned above; it aimed at developing a framework of ethical principles and was completed in December 2011. Managers of the human resources, legal department, purchasing department and also some business representatives were invited to work together to identify ethical principles that were the basis to write the deontology code of the company.
Besides this, the Top Management asked the human resources department to regularly conduct integrity training for the staff to ensure that things were never underlooked and to sustain a kind of “integrity pressure”. A partnership was also established with the international university of Rabat to enhance probity culture through getting advise from experts like founders of Finally, the company appointed Ethic officer whom mission was to maintain ethical culture, to identify nonconformities, to make any preventive and corrective actions and to organize appropriate trainings.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
First, there first was a big gap in skills which had to be filled to realize IT projects. ICT needed young recruits in tune with today’s technology. Moreover, another challenge was to cope with turn-over of IT skills as the market became bull during 2 years. There was a big effort to develop and maintain human capital. Main obstacles met in the conduction of projects had to do with the triptych cost, quality and time. The parade highlighted for that obstacle was the investment in training as several projects managers were encouraged to pass certifications and training courses were awarded with prestigious universities. Another big obstacle was the non-maturity of the IT Moroccan market: the only possible response was the appropriation of technology thanks to the qualified manpower resources, thanks to an adequate human resources management policy, developing the assets and rewarding the performance. As key success projects factors, we can also state the value and accountability of the project manager and the iterative approach to exploit projects as well.
Regarding the prevention, there was first a fierce resistance to the simple fact of being audited. People were naturally reluctant to being controlled and audited. So the cooperation was really minimal with the officer in charge of audits who fortunately had the support of the head Management who strongly advocated the need for an audit system. Regularly, the Management had to arbitrate before this function of auditing was considered legitimate.
Regarding our contractors, some of them were giving gifts to some officials were surprised when the new Top Management team in place since 2003, did not accept old practices and returned them their traditional gifts they were offering each year. So one of the obstacles was also that the old Management team who were still in place saw a threat in the new team.
Last, as far as the educational axis is concerned, many people were reluctant to learning; at the very first beginning, a common reaction was : “Do the management really think they are going to make us students? We are too old to go back to school”. As the average age was approximately 41, lots of people were used to work with certain habits and were not even aware the training was a right for them. Fortunately, some had seen their interest in the learning process and could help to reach the critical mass that made the change irreversible. The adhesion of the most motivated could be of great help to convince skeptical staff to adhere in a smooth and progressive way.
The last axis on which we are still working is corruption that can be found not in our staff but at our client companies which are approximately 4000 contributing companies ; the obstacle was the difficulty to detect the fraud as we are not equipped to control such a number of companies regarding their own staff. We could deal with it by participating into a ministerial committee dedicated to transparency of procedures.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
As said previously, our budget was poor in comparison with other big public companies as the investment budget represented each year 2,26 millions $ while the operating budget was approximately 10,4 millions $. Moreover, our management believed in our capabilities to do the work, provided human resources are motivated , rather than soliciting private providers which should be paid exhorbitant sums. The choice was made to use private companies only for missions or projects that could not be done by ourselves such as technological solutions that had to be integrated or highly specialized expertise that was difficult to find. The management strongly believed in the benefits of training and in production capacity of a motivated team. Consequently a great effort was made in improving staff’s capacities as training cycles were undertaken with whether universities or private companies.
To realize the IT projects, some new engineers were recruited each year to maintain the number of IT team to 30. This meant each year two to four new people were joining the IT department to replace whether resigning people or retiring ones. All in all, training was estimated at 238 000 $ each year ie 1 190 000 $ over the 5 years of the first phase of the initiative. Recruitment costed 214 285 $ over the same period while acquisition of technical platform and its integration costed 1 785 000 $, with an average daily unit wage cost of 357 $, knowing that the use of external service represented no more than 30 % of the global IT staff. All in all, internal cost of the IT resources was approximately 5 952 000 $.
Therefore, all resources of the company (about 287) were involved in the IT program so that each one’s contribution is made visible.
On the other hand, the other part of the initiative also required mobilization of all resources both in facilitating the implementation of the audit program but also in thinking about the package to encourage the all staff to behave differently : code of conduct, addressing areas of vulnerability in contracts and conventions etc…
This part of the program mobilized essentially people from HR department, legal department, risks department and the audit department, ie approximately 25 resources with a global cost of 1 071 000 $.
Our top management firmly believed in a value system. Values defined for the company were performance, citizenship, innovation and synergy. Those values were giving meaning to the entire action plan of the company and were strongly linked to the elements of the strategy including this initiative. Therefore, our Top Management organized tremendous awareness training strategy and values with the staff to ensure that everyone can be identified with this strategy, arguing that, during times of crisis, only values can weld staff and make him work with team spirit.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The initiative is sustainable in so far as what has been done was institutionalized around TQM culture. The fighting again corruption program was primarily cultural and its first results could be observed after 3 years of hard work.
The extraordinary effects of the program is that a system is built, that strengthens itself :
- As the projects are implemented to satisfy clients expectations, satisfaction rate should normally increase as clients needs are met. Doing so, new needs are created and generate a cycle of continuous improvement both on the client as the staff who appreciate that his work is beeing recognized. This recognition should in turn cause some kind of financial recognition from the Top Management as well as the encouragements to the staff, increasing their motivation and blooming at work. Such a cycle should eliminate some sources of corruption.
- Prevention program came also with good results as people made their work more conscientiously especially when they knew they could be accountable in case of corruption while in parallel there was a system premiums that rewarded good performance. It is also important to mention that the right of error was authorized and it was assumed that 94% of the failures were due to processes whereas only 6% were due to human errors. This tolerance was supposed to free staff’s initiatives.
- In the same manner, it is scientifically proven that by repeating things, they come to be assimilated by those who it is aimed at. So continuous education finally overcome the thoughest, knowing that managers and middle-managers had the difficult task to relay the Top Management’s ethical message till enforcement officers.
First year budget was more important than the previous as we were allowed an upper limit of 30%. Subsequent years, budget was maintained in the same proportions as the program was supposed to last several years. However, one has to know that the projects were realized essentially by our means, using minimum external delivery. The global IT investment and training budget represented about 2,4 M$ each year.
At the social and economic level, the initiative was sustainable as it contributed to reduce the digital divide and to participate in the discussion on combatting corruption on the national scale. On the environmental plan, the initiative allowed to contribute to environmental respect as IT projects were supposed to eliminate the paper flow, replacing it by electronic circulation of documents. On the institutional and regulatory level, the initiative was placed under the application of personal protection data as the processes became more transparent and secure, preserving confidentiality, authentication and data integrity.
The initiative is transferable ; the best proof is that some other public companies have asked us to help them implementing it. We have developped a partnership program with social security public companies in Africa, putting our retirement software at their disposal and accompany them through exchanging experiences and giving them all necessary advise.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
Impacts and lessons learned can be divided into several categories:
- First, combatting corruption requires Understanding root causes of this scourge and ways of preventing it ; therefore it is necessary to develop capacities to conduct researches, analyse what works and what does not work, best practices and from there conduct human resources programs to Enhance professionalism, ethics, integrity, skills and knowledge which should reduce corruption ; the whole practice of human resource management in the Public Service is to be put in question. All human processes are to be built to carefully supervise staff and motivate them. Emphasis on pursuit of excellence in every field of the public service ensures that excellence is an institutional objective. Analysis and assessment of competence of all people relatively to the tasks they have to perform to effectively and efficiently serve the public and ensuring that the necessary competences are developed through training is critical to the development of professionalism. Continuous learning through continuing education and other self development activities will contribute to the development of knowledge and skills that are part and parcel of the competences of professionalism. Globally, including improvements in the remuneration of the company to ensure they would not get the temptation to behave unprofessionally was really positive for developing professionalism.

- Second, strengthening leadership capabilities of the company was really the key point to fight corruption; developing professionalism in our institution required managers capable of creativity to play the role of leading the crusade for shaping the future of public service to have it reinvented. Regarding our experience, the development of such a leadership was a challenge that had to be addressed. In this regards, assessment and strengthening of leadership capabilities was spearheading the public service.

- Enhancing the use of ICT implicitly prevents corruption; not only automation and dematerialization limits human contact and interaction between public officers and clients or suppliers but ICT offers great tool for disseminating rapidly information, which should deter corrupt giving or receiving as wide spread of such information is immediate if known. Data gives corruption a face which can be made accessible anytime from everywhere through forums, blogs, social networks, video hosting sites.

- Last taught lesson is that constructing a customer-oriented system increases citizens’ pressure against corruption, especially when it focuses on outcomes and delivery. It is essential to foster citizen involvement in reporting corruption. Enhancing engagement of citizens, civil society and even suppliers reduces corruption; the most critical thing our agents are entrusted with by the Public is the delivery of public Services. Essentially the Public would not mind so much about anything else in the Public service if the services were delivered to all effectively, timely, predictably, consistently, affordably and equitably. Therefore it is essential to ensure active participation of civil society to enhance transparency in decision making processes by providing public access to information and encouraging citizens to report on offences and protect the freedom to seek, receive and publish information concerning corruption.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   RCAR
Institution Type:   Public Organization  
Contact Person:   ahmed-yassir BELRHITI
Title:   Director of support  
Telephone/ Fax:   0537718040
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   avenue Annakhil ryad business center
Postal Code:   10000
City:   rabat
State/Province:   rabat
Country:   Morocco

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