1.What is the purpose of this scheme?
It is essentially a multilateral arrangement that facilitates bilateral acts of information sharing between any CII participants that elect to join the scheme.
2.Is this a framework, or an arrangement?
This has been devised so that Organisations can be a party to an arrangement where they may share information with others who have also elected to join. The framework is the set of principles that describes the basic terms that those Organisations who are party to the arrangement may use. The framework principles will be familiar to those who already have bilateral MoUs. However, both the Supplying and Receiving Parties are free to depart from the framework principles if they both agree to do so each time information is shared.
It provides a gateway to exchange information that would otherwise require a specific MoU or other agreement between Organisations. This means that (1) information can be exchanged more quickly without having to establish an MoU first, and (2) it protects the Supplying Party who has an agreed basis on which to share information, thus facilitating the sharing of information that they may otherwise be reticent to provide. It is envisaged that the arrangement will be useful where there is an urgent need for information and will be of particular benefit to those offices that do not have multiple existing MoUs in place, or the resources to implement them
4.What if we already have MoUs for information sharing with others?
Please continue to use your bilateral MoUs. This framework does not override existing agreements in any way but provides a method to exchange information with those Organisations where you do not have an existing MoU. Also, by being a party to the arrangement, it may encourage others to provide information to you where it might otherwise have been an obstacle.
When sharing information, you will still have to abide by your own Organisation’s policies, and you should still obtain the relevant approvals. However, you will not have to go through the additional hurdles of establishing a new MoU each time.
6.Who is a CII participant?
Any Investigative Office from an intergovernmental or similar multilateral Organisation that has been invited to and has participated in one or more CII conferences. In cases of doubt, the CII Secretariat may – at its discretion – advise whether an Organisation can be considered a CII participant.
7.Can national/bilateral agencies sign up?
No, it would get too complicated having to accommodate various national requirements. This arrangement is for multilateral participant Organisations of the CII only. National agencies should share information through other means, such as bilateral MoUs.
Any information that the Supplying and Receiving Parties agree on. It is envisaged that it will mainly be used for operational information to assist with preventing, detecting or investigating misconduct, but there is no restriction on the material the parties may share. Organisations may also use the framework e.g. for training materials, best practices, and policies, as agreed.
9.What about data protection and other privacy issues?
Each Organisation will have to assess whether it can share information on a case-by-case basis, and this will include data protection considerations. However, the framework principles were drafted in consultation with data protection lawyers, and specifically address the corresponding issues, noting for example that there is no obligation to share, and no expectation of reciprocity.
10.Information sharing can still be a sensitive topic. Why should my Organisation vote for this?
Endorsement of this proposal will not directly affect your Organisation in any way. If the proposal is passed, it merely establishes a facility which will then become available as an option to your Organisation, and others. If your Organisation then elects to join, it remains under no obligation to actually share information. However, if your Organisation does elect to become a party to the arrangement, it may increase your chance of receiving information from others. Every step is fully optional with no compulsion. Further, each act of information sharing will be done bilaterally and thus not affect other Organisations, whether or not they are participants in the arrangement.
11.What are our obligations if my Organisation joins the arrangement?
Any exchange of information, whether proactive or on request, is entirely at the discretion of the Supplying Party. The Supplying Party undertakes to help the Receiving Party understand the nature of the information being shared. The Receiving Party primarily undertakes to handle the information with due professional care, maintaining it within the Investigative Office on an ‘information only’ basis, and informing the Supplying Party if these terms are breached. There are no further obligations except those you mutually agree to, and even these basic terms can be modified if both parties agree in advance. Similarly, if the Receiving Party knows it will be unable to comply with these terms, it should inform the Supplying Party who may then make an informed decision on whether to proceed with sharing any information.
Any Organisation may leave the arrangement at any time but will remain responsible for abiding by any agreed terms for information previously shared under the agreement.
12.What if my Organisation is uncomfortable with the basic terms?
If the standard principles are not acceptable, then you are free to modify, add or delete terms if both parties agree. It is planned to have a template document reflecting the framework’s principles which both parties can sign each time information is shared, and this document will include space for extra text to describe any agreed divergence from the framework. If the parties are unable to agree terms, the information cannot be shared pursuant to this arrangement.
13.What sanctions or rights of redress are there if the framework or other agreed terms are not complied with?
Sharing of information will be done bilaterally between two Organisations. The arrangement merely acts to facilitate this. Accordingly, it is envisaged that the parties would seek resolution between themselves, similar to what they might do if an actual MoU existed between them.
14.What is the role of the CII Secretariat in this process? Who will administer the scheme?
The CII (likely via the conference website) will maintain a register of all organisations that have opted into the scheme, but each exchange of information is done bilaterally (and likely confidentially) so there is no administration or CII Secretariat involvement as such – just a framework which the individual organisations can make use of. The CII Secretariat may also be able to help clarify whether an Organisation is deemed a CII participant (see question 6).
15.Sounds good. How and when can we sign up?
It is envisaged that the joining instructions will follow shortly after the CII, if the proposal is endorsed. Organisations may sign up either at that point, or at any time thereafter, on the authority of an appropriately authorised individual (this may be the head of the Investigative Office or possibly the legal office or other executive management depending on each organisation’s policies).
16.What will be needed to operationalise the scheme?
A template document will be developed that will accompany each exchange of information (see also question 12). This will require that authorised persons of both parties confirm their adherence to the framework principles and/or other terms the parties agree on.