CSO Grant Facility

Bhutan

Preamble

The CSO Grant facility is fully committed to the principles of honesty, integrity and fair play in the conduct of its business. The member of the Technical- and Project Steering Committee (hereafter Committees) receive and approves applications for CSO grants. To uphold civil society and public trust, it is important for all members to handle the Committees business in a just and impartial manner so that the Committees reputation will not be tarnished by dishonesty, impropriety or corruption. To this end, this Code of Conduct sets out the standard of behaviour expected of the Committee members in managing the EU funded grant to civil society in Bhutan. The Code of Conduct shall also apply to the applicant CSO and be included as attachment to the Grant Agreement.

General Standards

Committee members shall:

  1. ensure that his/her conduct would not bring the CSO Grant Facility into disrepute;
  2. avoid at any time or in any respect doing anything which may compromise or impair his/her integrity, impartiality, objectivity or ability to perform Grant Facility duties. For instance, he/she should not contact the applicants directly for clarification/additional information relating to their applications, as this is the mandate of the Secretariat, or disclose information relating to the assessment; and
  3.  adhere to the spirit and the letter of the Grant Management guidelines for the CSO Grant Facility

Applicants shall:

  1. ensure that his/her conduct would not bring the Grant Facility into disrepute;
  2. restrain from communicating with the committee members on the application submitted with a view to influencing the members in assessing the application; and
  3. observe the prevailing grant application guidelines and procedures relating to application for and implementation of CSO grants issued by the Grant Facility

Specific Standards

The following specific standards of this Section shall apply in addition to the General Standards detailed above:

Offer and Acceptance of Bribes or Advantages

A committee member breaches the Code of Conduct if he/she, without the Committees permission, solicits or accepts any advantage in connection with the Grant Facility’s business. Committee members shall not misuse their official capacity as such to gain benefit for themselves or others, or render favour to any person/organization. On the other hand, applicants should not offer gifts and advantages or intimidate the members with a view to influencing the assessment of application for CSO grants.

Conflict of Interest

A conflict of interest situation arises when the private interest of a Committee member or reviewer competes or conflicts with the interest of the Grant Facility. “Private interest” includes both the financial and other interests of Committee members and those of their connections, including family members, relatives, friends, clubs and societies to which they belong, as well as people to whom they owe a favour or are obligated in any way.

Committee members shall avoid any conflict of interest situation or the perception of such conflicts. They shall not use their official position or any information made available to them in the course of their duties to benefit themselves, their relations or any other persons with whom they have personal or social ties. They shall avoid putting themselves in a position that may lead to an actual or perceived conflict of interest. Failure to avoid, declare, disclose or report such conflict may give rise to criticisms of favouritism, abuse of authority or even allegations of corruption. In this connection Committee members or reviewers shall declare upfront any conflict of interest situation to the Secretariat where appropriate.

When a conflict of interest is declared and in case there is a meeting to be convened to discuss the matter, the Committee Chairperson shall decide on whether the member may speak or vote on the matter, remain in the meeting as an observer or withdraw from the meeting altogether. The Secretariat can provide advice according to general government practices and regulations.

Observe Confidentiality and Use of Confidential and Privileged Information

A Committee member shall not take advantage of, or let any person or organization benefit from, the confidential or privileged information obtained in his/her capacity as a member or reviewer. All meeting papers, including the Project Proposal Assessment grids, have to be returned to the Secretariat for disposal at the end of the meeting. Soft copies should only be used during meeting and should not be taken away in any way. A Committee member shall not divulge any confidential or privileged information of the Grant Facility to any party or contact the applicants directly unless he/she is authorized to do so. Communications, including documentary information and deliberations at meetings and discussions, concerning business of the Grant Facility, which will come into the Committee member’s knowledge/possession as a result of his/her service for and appointment with the Grant Facility, must be held in confidence.

An applicant should not contact the Committee members to discuss issues relating to the proposals submitted.

Allocation of Funds

Committee members shall ensure that all the funds are allocated in a prudent and responsible manner to safeguard public interest and the interest of the European Union as funding agency. They should only approve fund applications which fall within the objective of the fund, and meet the eligibility and assessment criteria. Members shall particularly ensure that an open, fair and competitive mechanism is adopted for the assessment of fund applications and selection of applicants.