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2022 Government Report

Changes made with the people, a government

fulfilling its responsibilities to the end
Korea of integrity and fairness, a government that guarantees the people’s rights and interests

 

< Key tasks for 2022 >

To leap forward as an advanced country with integrity by completing reforms for anti-corruption and fairness such as the implementation of the “Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest Related to Duties of Public Servants”

To actively resolve social conflicts and the people’s grievances as a reliable “Problem solver for the people’s rights and interests”

To lead in e-governance by pushing for the legislation of the “e-People Act” and promoting the “People’s Idea Box,” etc.

 

. Achievements over the last four and a half years

 

The Anti-Corruption and Civil Rights Commission (Chairperson Jeon Hyun-Heui, hereinafter ACRC) has led the improvement of national integrity through continuous anti-corruption reforms.

The ACRC has also established a national-wide responsive system against corruption and unfairness, including the creation of the ‘Anti-Corruption Policy Consultation Council for a Fair Society’ and the ‘Public-Private Consultative Council for a Transparent Society,’ and reinforced legal and institutional foundations* to raise the integrity level of overall society.

* Enactment and implement of theAct on Prohibition of False Claims for Public Funds and Recovery of Illicit Profits(Jan. 2020) and the “Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest Related to Duties of Public Servants(to come into effect in May 2022); Revision of the “Act on the Prevention of Corruption and the Establishment and Management of the Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission” to complement its functions to ascertain the truth from the reported person regarding a corruption report (July 2021).

 

The ACRC has actively responded to anti-corruption issues by annually conducting the “complete inspection on the actual conditions of hiring practices of public organizations” since 2017, resulting in the relief of about 3,400 victims of hiring corruption, and by establishing and carrying out the “Ten Tasks for Anti-corruption and Integrity” spurred by the LH scandal.

 

The ACRC significantly expanded the range of protection of public interest reporters by consistently adding relevant laws to the list of laws related to public interest reports (279 laws in 2017 471 laws in 2021) and actively protected and rewarded reporters.

 

As a result, Korea’s Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI), published by Transparency International(TI), has significantly increased four years consecutively. Korea recorded its all-time high score (61 points) and ranked 33rd in the world in 2020, also ranking 18th out of 114 countries in the Index of Public Integrity (IPI) released by the European Research Centre for Anti-Corruption and State-Building (ERCAS) in 2021.

Korea’s Score in CPI by years

Korea’s Ranking in IPI by years

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The ACRC has also carried out field-based and people-focused policies to relieve the people’s rights and interests.

 

It has actively resolved civil complaints and administrative appeal cases caused by unlawful, unjust, and passive administration practices, resulting in the relief of 23,810 caseson the infringement of the people’s rights and interests.

 

* Recommendations for redress, opinion statements, and settlement and mediation of civil complaints: 11,666 cases; Rulings recognizing an administrative appeal: 12,144 cases (2017 ~ Nov. 2021)

 

Furthermore, the Commission has carefully listened to a variety of opinions of citizens collected through e-People and People’s Idea Box, government-wide portal systems for communication and participation, and reflected the opinions when making institutional improvements on 261 cases related to fairness and inclusion.

 

 

. ACRC task plans for 2022

 

The ACRC’s main task plans for 2022 are as follows:

1. Completion of anti-corruption and fair reform

 

< Innovation in anti-corruption and integrity policies for an advanced country with integrity>

 

The Act on the Prevention of Conflict of Interest Related to Duties of Public Servants will be enforced on May 19, 2022 to prevent the 2 million public servants from seeking improper private interests.

 

For the smooth implementation of the Act, the ACRC, as thegoverning body to operate the system, provides on-site training for the public servants who are subject to the Act, actively supports public institutions in their own training by creating and distributing standard teaching plans and instructor’s manual,andestablishes the foundation for the stable operation of the system.

 

In addition, the Commission ensures that public institutions designate and operate the position of an official in charge of preventing conflicts of interest so that each institution can be fully prepared before the implementation of the Act. It also supports the institutions to create their own “operational guidelines” reflecting the nature of each institution, by providing the standard operational guidelines for the system of preventing conflicts of interest.

 

In order for the government’s anti-corruption policies to be carried out in a thorough and continuous manner, the ACRC establishes the“2nd Five-Year Comprehensive Plan for Anti-Corruption (tentative),”following the Five-Year Comprehensive Plan for Anti-Corruption (2018~2022) established in May 2018.

 

The ACRC will selectkey strategies and tasksto makethe national integrity levelrank stably withinthe top 30, by choosing tasks that were insufficiently performed or need continued effortafter analyzing the existing comprehensive plan and bydiscovering new tasksbased on social changes.

 

Starting from 2022, the “Integrity Assessment for Public Institutions” and the “Anti-corruption Initiative Assessment” will be combined as the “Comprehensive Integrity Assessment” for the comprehensive assessment of the perceptions and experiences related to corruption and the anti-corruption efforts and achievements of public institutions.

 

* ‘Comprehensive Integrity’ Assessment: Integrity Perception Level(Corruption perceived and experienced in the process of handling public duties internally and externally) + Integrity Effort Level(Efforts to establish anti-corruption systems, operation achievements, and effectiveness) (-) Corruption Realities(Status of corruption cases)

 

To eradicate power abuse in the public sector, the ACRC includes ‘workplace harassment’ into the concept of power abuse under the Code of Conduct for Public Officials and complements the specific behavioral standards such as measures to protect victims of power abuse. To guarantee fairness in the private sector, the Commission also revises the Improper Solicitation and Graft Act, which prevents public servants from improper solicitations to the private sector.

 

< Establishment and spread of a culture of anti-corruption and integrity across the society >

 

The ACRC makes face-to face integrity education for elected and high ranking officials mandatory, and expands specialized training such as integrity leadership courses. To ensure that public servantsreceive the integrity education, the Commission revises the relevant guidelines to make public institutions publicize theircurrent status and performance regarding integrity education on their website.

 

To enhance the integrity awareness of future generations, the ACRC conducts and analyzes customized surveys for teenagers when conducting the corruption perception survey, while expanding and operating integrity education programs for elementary and middle school curriculums and university curriculums.

 

To enhance the transparency of public corporations, the ACRC creates an ‘ethics and compliance program’ and actively supports their voluntary practice, and launches and operates education courses for ethics and compliance at the Anti-Corruption Training Institute. Based on the performance of the education for public corporations, the Commission expands its educational support to public-service related organizations and private corporations.

 

The ACRC also pushes ahead measures to eradicate improper hiring practices, to spread the culture of fair hiring practice in overall society. It conducts the “5th periodical complete inspection on the actual conditions of hiring practices,” targeting 1,662 public institutions, and revises the relevant laws to lay the foundation for the stable operation of the measures to eradicate improper hiring practices.

 

< Prompt and impartial response to corruption cases >

 

When a corruption case occurs as an important social issue, the ACRC immediately operates its response system to promptly create improvement measures by conducting a joint fact-finding survey with the relevant agencies, etc.

 

As an opportunity to submit materials and state opinions is given to the reported person regarding a corruption report, under the revised Act on the Prevention of Corruption and the Establishment and Management of the Anti-corruption and Civil Rights Commission (to be enforced on Feb. 18, 2022) the effectiveness of handling corruption reports will be improvedand the reported person’s rights to statement and defense will also be guaranteed.

 

The ACRC focuses on improving corruption-prone areas*, to reform the corrupt practices of local governments and public institutions.

 

* (Examples) Private contracts of local government such as to give favor; whether fair hiring standards have been observed; heightened inspection and operation of the reporting period on unfair budget allocation or personnel issues according to improper solicitations after local elections, etc.

 

The ACRC pushes ahead to revise the Act on Prohibition of False Claims for Public Funds and Recovery of Illicit Profits to include the fraudulent receipt of public funds for contracts in which large-scale public funds are injected into the scope of the application of the Act.

 

The Commission analyzes and discloses the amount of fraudulent receipt compared to the payment from the public fund,by institution, law, and specific project, so that it can intensively inspect and improve the areas prone to public fund leakage.

 

< Reinforcement of the reporter protection and reward system to meet the expectations of the people >

 

The ACRC unifies the different regulations regarding reporter protection and reward depending on laws, based on the Protection of Public Interest Reporters Act, to improve the unity and fairness of the protection and reward standards and to prevent confusion when applying the laws.

 

Furthermore, it creates measures to expand the level of rewards so that practical compensation and support can be provided to reporters.

 

For cases that are a social issue, the ACRC strengthens the prompt and proactive protection of the reporter by providing a procedure to recognize and publicly announce the reporter even before the ACRC’s decision on protective measures and by significantly easing the conditions to temporarily suspend disadvantageous measures against the reporter who is receiving or will receive a disadvantageous measure.

 

To enhance the guarantee of confidentiality of reporters, the ACRC newly creates penalty provisions for hunting down the reporter and for damages caused by exposing the identity of the reporter due to a gross mistake.

 

Moreover, to promote the system of non-real name proxy representation reporting, the Commission enables the Clean Portal_Corruption Reporting to receive a non-real name proxy representation reporting, and revises the law to expand the scope of proxy of lawyers to inquiry, investigation, trial, and protection and reward.

 

2. Prompt and active protection of the people’s rights and interests

 

< Visiting service to resolve the people’s grievances for the phased return to normal life >

 

The ACRC gives its top priority to supporting the vulnerable classes, small businesses, and micro-enterprises that are in hardship due to COVID-19 and to recovering their business activities. It also expands the operation of the localized and customized “outreach program for complaint-handling” to focus on its visiting service to resolve the people’s grievances.

 

If there is a large-scale damage to human lives or property, or an urgent grievance issue caused by COVID-19, for example, the Commission sends its “emergency response team” on site and operates a resolution system to provide consultation and immediate support.

 

The ACRC selects significant issues with conflicting interests as its key tasks to handle, such as prolonged unresolved conflicts, issues involving multipleagencies, or large-scale collective complaints with an estimated budget of more than 5 billion won, etc., and intensively provides solutions according to the “Process to redress a collective complaint as a social issue.”

 

 

<Process to mediate and redress a collective complaint as a social issue >

 

Basic investigation/ Start meeting

*Strengthen high-level response depending on the case

Working level mediation

*Send “Emergency response team” depending on the urgency of the case

Final mediation/ Resolution

*Conduct a planned investigation if necessary

Follow-up

*Strengthen regular check and inspection

 

The ACRC is fully preparingto enact the Act on the Mediation of Collective Complaints as soon as possible, which is the legal foundation to redress collective complaints in a more professional, effective, and systematic manner.

 

Moreover, to raise the acceptance rate of recommendations for redress and opinion statements on civil complaints, the ACRC reinforces follow-up management in stages, such as site inspections, acceptance cooperation meetings with concerned agencies, and reports and media announcements, etc.

 

The Commission also provides the legal foundation to increase media announcements on the current status of the acceptance rate of each public institution to minimize the number of cases unaccepted without a particular reason, and to publicize the details of the recommendations and the reason behindunaccepted cases on the website of each institution.

 

<Establishment of an efficient and specialized complaint-handling system>

 

To establish an effective handling system on ever-increasing civil complaints, the ACRC supports local governments to launch a local grievance commission (Local Ombudsman) and pushes ahead to make it mandatory to establish a Local Ombudsman in a local government over a certain size.

 

The Commission also promotes the operation of the ‘ACRC National Council’ to strengthen cooperation between the ACRC and the Local Ombudsmen, and provides more support such as holding seminars for each province and offering prior consulting to reinforce the capability of the Local Ombudsmen to handle complaints.

 

Furthermore, the ACRC pushes ahead a project to establish a standard handling system where people can directly file a civil complaint with a Local Ombudsman using e-People and the entire procedure from investigation and deliberation to follow-up management can be digitally processed.

 

In addition, the Commission promotes the professional ombudsman system to cover the blind spots in protecting the people’s rights. It pushes ahead to introduce theInvestigative Ombudsman which can actively relievethe infringed rights of the people regarding all investigative agencies such as the prosecution, the police, and the Corruption Investigation Office for High-ranking Officials

 

Also, in order to improve the relief of infringed human rights and interests in the military, the ACRC reinforces the response system, including the designation and operation of a professional investigator, so that soldiers can file a grievance without apprehension from the start to the end of their military service, and cooperates with the Ministry of Defense to promote the National Defense Ombudsman.

< Reinforcement of the protection of the people’s rights and interests through prompt and fair administrative appeals >

 

When handling administrative appeals, the Commission actively makes a ruling on not only unlawful but also ‘unjust’ dispositions that infringe the people’s rights, and actively applies modified decisions or the mediation system to raise the acceptance rate of administrative appeals.

 

The Commission actively operates the administrative appeals system from the perspective of the people, significantly expanding the on-site investigation of evidence and oral hearing to mitigate the appellant’s burden of proof. It is also going to consider the introduction of the re-ruling system on ther ulings of municipal & provincial administrative appeals commissions to expand the relief of the people’s rights.

 

In addition, the ACRC provides the “EASY Administrative Appeals” service which has an “automatic completion function for written appeals” and “customized ruling examples by type” to help appellants filling out a written appeal, so that they can easily file an administrative appeal without the need for a professional such as a lawyer or a licensed administrative agent.

 

The Commission simplifies the handling process that interferes with the quick deliberation and ruling of an administrative appeal. It pushes ahead to revise the law to enable the Commission not to receive a written appeal or to dismiss the appeal without correction if the contents cannot be specified because of slander and abusive language, etc. and to make a ruling without an answer if the written answer by the appellee is delayed.

 

3. Improvement on policies and institutions based on the people’s opinions

 

< Operation of the government-wide digital platform for the people’s participation and communication >

 

The ACRC pushes ahead to enact the e-People Act (tentative) that stipulates the ACRC’s comprehensive operation authority and role and provides the legal foundation of the e-People system, a government-wide digital communication platform, to receive and handle civil complaints in a way that reflects the nature of online complaints and to manage, analyze, and use the data. In this way, the ACRC is planning to lead the digital platform of the government by strengthening the responsibility to manage and operate e-People.

 

To improve the convenience of using the service, the Commission gradually expands the users (public institutions) of e-People to public institutions and private universities that are not using the e-People system at present.

 

The ACRC collects more opinions on the current affairs of the state and government’s main policies through “People’s Idea Box,” a representative platform for the people to participate in the policy-making process. To raise the representativeness and reliability of opinion polls on People’s Idea Box, the ACRC also promotes the “Citizen Panel” system and expands the use of the poll results.

 

For more exhaustive protection of the people’s rights, the Commission promotes the “People’s application for active administration,” and pushes ahead with the revision of the concerned laws to expand the scope of the system’s application, currently limited to central government agencies and local governments, to include public institutions.

 

In order to prevent passive administration, the Commission categorizes the working manners of passive administration and publishes and distributes a passive administration prevention manual that contains frequently occurring instances of passive administration, handling standards and procedures, and leading examples in resolving and improving passive administration.

 

< Active improvement of policies and institutions based on the people’s opinions >

 

The ACRC actively supports the carrying out of policies by analyzing the big data on civil complaints in line with the government’s management direction such as support for the phased return to normal life and reinforcement of the people’s safety.

 

< Topics of analysis in civil complaints (examples) >

* Civil complaints filed in the last 3 years (Jan. 2019~ Oct. 2021)

Field

Topics of analysis

Phased return to normal life

󰋻Inconvenience regarding local tourism and travel (128,000 cases)

 

󰋻Inconvenience regarding use of multiuse facilities such as gyms and cultural performances(11,500 cases)

Inclusive nation & safety of the people

󰋻Regarding support for single parent&multi-cultural families such as child fostering expenses or housing support (172,000 cases)

󰋻Regarding food safety issues such as distribution of adulterated food, marks of origin, and sanitary inspection, etc. (24,000 cases)

Unfair practices & irrationality

󰋻Report of false & exaggerated advertisements on online shopping malls, etc.(11,000 cases)

 

󰋻Cases regarding violation of labor laws such as overdue wages(30,000 cases)

The ACRC increases the use of data on civil complaints by working with various external agencies such as public institutions with big data and research centers. It alsoexpands data disclosureby establishing a “platform for AI-based remote analysis” where citizens can analyzethe data themselves for their research and development.

The Commission also actively facilitates institutional improvements to improve corruption causing factors and civil grievances that newly occur following social change and to reform repetitive structural and chronic corrupt practices.

 

Fields

Improvement Tasks (examples)

Preemptive response to

social changes

-Prevent unfair contracts regarding real estate trust; Prevent corrupt practices regarding multiple dwelling units, etc.

-Improve the closed operation of smart factory businesses; Prevent corruption in businesses with a large-scale budget

Recovery of peoples lives

& Social safety net

Reduce inconveniences for businesses by complementing the agreement system on group standards and strengthening deliberation on conflict resolution, etc.

Improve the disabled and the elderlys convenience in using kiosks; Improve the policy to support school uniform expenses

Eradication of structural & chronic corrupt practices

Prevent the act of receiving money from nominal donations & sponsorships; Improve the improper use of resorts owned by public institutions

Improve the standards and subjects to medical expense reduction/exemption for national and public hospitals; Create the standards to designate a primary bank for public institutions

 

< Operation of a convenient one-stop service close to the people for consultation and resolution of complaints>

 

To improve the quality of the consultation service, the ACRC analyzes the consultation trends of a normal year and sets a focused period for consultation of specific events, such as various tax payment periods, government’s subsidy payment periods, enactment dates of the laws closely related to the people’s lives, etc., and enhances the training of consultants.

For complex complaints involving multiple agencies, the Commission actively uses the Complaint Consultation Council to promote the mediation of the complaints. In particular, it actively finds and resolves issues to submit to the Council, cooperating with the civil service centers of local governments and public institutions.

 

The ACRC is fully preparing to establish the “Intelligent Integrated Call Center” to provide 24/7/365 consultation service by introducing the AI automatic consultation function and integrating 96 government call centers by 2023.

 

Chairperson Jeon Hyun-Heui of the ACRC stated, “The year 2022 is the time for the Commission to substantially push ahead with its policies for anti-corruption and integrity and the protection of the people’s rights.” She also added, “The ACRC is going to make the best effort to lead the nation to leap forward as a truly advanced country with integrityby completing the government reforms for anti-corruption and fairness, and to work as a problem solver for the people’s rights, standing on the side of the people, by actively resolving the people’s grievances and social conflicts.”