Director of the Centre for Anti-corruption Research
and Initiative Transparency International-Russia
I would like to begin my address from several questions. Why does a public corporation need transparency? Why one should care about information disclosure? Why one should pay attention to the public opinion at all? These appear to be simple questions, but, regretfully, the answer to them is not always apparent to very many people in this country. Moreover, it seems to many citizens that the activities of the government authorities and most of the publicly-owned corporations and companies have nothing to do with them in principle, because they do not affect their everyday life. A significant number of bureaucrats and persons who manage public resources in turn believe that the transparency enhancement means additional troubles and senseless fuss.
ROSATOM’s Report demonstrates that it is not quite so. Rather, far otherwise.
The way of cooperation our organization – The Centre for Anti-Corruption Research and Initiatives of the Transparency International-Russia – and ROSATOM have travelled has not been simple and easy at all. Today, recollecting our first efforts of independent monitoring of the Corporation’s procurement system, exercises in formulating the first recommendations on enhancement of its efficiency and transparency, the first contacts and difficult discussions, it looks that the entire interaction was rather doomed to remain a single-time project without any further practical use and evolution. But going through meeting after meeting, discussion after discussion, through trials and errors we have made a long difficult way to learn to speak the same language and move in the same direction. It rarely happens, so more valuable this experience is. Especially, when this experience leads to a substantial saving of funds: ROSATOM’s procurement system saved over RUB 20 billion in 2013 only.
In 2013, the Activity Transparency Enhancement Committee of ROSATOM worked in the following areas:
- enhancement of transparency of the non-related assets restructuring process (procedures of the “competitive negotiations” and external independent evaluation were developed);
- development of efficiency improvement mechanisms of the non-governmental oversight in the property management system (the competition-based procurement procedures were subjected to control by the public);
- development of the compliance system in the Corporation (a compliance function development schedule has been developed and introduced);
- development of a system to control over conflicts of interests in procurement (mechanisms for declaring and settling conflicts of interests in procurement have been developed and introduced);
- pilot trials of procurement tools with the application of mechanisms and tools of Contracting (the procurement monitoring and assessment of efficiency improvement when applying the Contracting was
carried out, with recommendations on modification and revision of legislation produced).
The Activity Transparency Enhancement Committee of ROSATOM reviewed many issues ranging from audits, including that of anti-corruption procedures and practices, through development of a system to control over conflict of interests of persons engaged in the Corporation’s procurement activities. It is one thing if they just spoke and forgot about this matter. But in our case, nearly all proposals of the Commission members, innovative tools and methods (e.g., for enhancement of transparency of non-related assets restructuring or for non-governmental oversight in the property management system, for building a sound and capable compliance system) and on many other issues have been reflected, in this or other way but nearly always, in the daily activities of ROSATOM and its structural divisions.
Does this mean that everything has succeeded and we can rest on our laurels? Certainly, it does not. The transparency, accountability and involvement of the public are not single-time actions but a complex and integrated process where perfection cannot be achieved. The agenda includes complicated issues such as introduction of the control tools to prevent affiliation, adaptation and use of new procurement mechanisms in the framework of the contracting, debugging to ensure uninterruptible functioning of the system for declaring incomes and property of a substantial number of top managers and employees of ROSATOM. This process will be
difficult but, no doubt, interesting and extremely useful not only for ROSATOM but also for the entire country. It will be as important as the experience of all pioneers and innovators.
This Report describes exactly such experience.
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