New e-learning module on Internal Affairs
An e-learning module on Internal Affairs was released in January 2023 on CLiKC! – the learning platform developed by the WCO for Customs officers. The course was first released in English, but will be available in French, Portuguese, Arabic and Spanish by the end of March 2023.
The WCO’s Revised Arusha Declaration, which lists the ten key factors that must be taken into account in a national Customs integrity programme, declares that “the prevention and control of corruption in Customs can be assisted by the implementation of a range of appropriate monitoring and control mechanisms such as internal checks programmes, internal and external auditing and investigation and prosecution regimes”. In this regard, Internal Affairs is a specialized group whose core responsibilities are to investigate cases of corruption, misconduct, or malpractice and deal with other important aspects of preventive vigilance, including processing and verifying declarations of assets, conducting pre-employment integrity checks, conducting ethics and integrity-related training, mapping corruption risks and spearheading integrity projects.
Through discussions held at meetings of WCO working bodies and following integrity development assessments conducted with administrations over the years, the WCO Secretariat identified the need to provide support on this topic and develop a training curriculum on Internal Affairs-related processes, procedures and activities that would positively impact the level of integrity of Customs officials.
This work was, and still is, led by the team managing the WCO Anti-Corruption & Integrity Promotion Programme for Customs (A-CIP), which is funded by Norway and Canada. When designing the Internal Affairs training curriculum and the course material (see table below), the team received inputs from experts and from administrations which piloted or have benefitted from the trainings.
The new e-learning course, which is one of the team’s most recent achievements, has been developed based on three existing training workshops designed to be delivered by experts in Internal Affairs, either virtually or in-person, namely the “Internal Affairs Functional Model”, which is intended for Customs administrations working towards creating their own Internal Affairs function, “Basics of Internal Affairs”, which aims to take stock of the level of maturity of Internal Affairs within an administration, and identify related strengths to build on and gaps to address, and “Administrative Investigation Process”, which explores administrative investigation models and related best practices.
The e-learning course provides a comprehensive roadmap to either create or consolidate an Internal Affairs capacity. The learning scenario is based on the onboarding of a new Junior Investigator into an Internal Affairs team. At the end of the course, the learner is able to appreciate the importance of the Internal Affairs function and identify the mechanisms (which must be transparent, accessible and safe) for receiving, assessing and managing complaints concerning corruption, misconduct or malpractice. The e-learning module also provides guidance related to the administrative investigation process, common challenges facing an investigator and ways to overcome those challenges. Finally, it includes some further instructions on the interview process, as well as how to prepare an effective report.