The Spanish Episcopal Conference is aware of the growing call for information currently demanded by society on the activities undertaken by the Church in Spain and their social impact.
This requirement is also linked to increasing demands for transparency in all actions, procedures, accounts, etc. in line with what is also required of other institutions of major public significance.
It is for this reason that the Episcopal Conference has recently signed a collaboration agreement with the NGO Transparencia Internacional España, which establishes different commitments to improving transparency and which will be applicable to both the Episcopal Conference and to the Spanish dioceses. This means that these bodies undertake to equip themselves with management tools, techniques or information and supervision.
Through these commitments the Church seeks to show society its true face, disclosing the way it is organized, its structure, its funding and the activities it carries out within the framework of the Church’s purposes: evangelization, the life of the faith and the exercise of charity.
Collaboration Agreement between the Spanish Episcopal Conference and Transparencia Internacional España
On one part, Mr José María Gil Tamayo, Secretary-General of the Spanish Episcopal Conference (SEC), with appointment effective since 20 November 2013 and empowered for signing this Agreement by virtue of the provisions of the Spanish Episcopal Conference Charter approved on 28 November 2008.
And on the other part, the president of Transparencia Internacional España, Mr Jesús Lizcano Álvarez, legal representative of said institution under the current statutes of this association, officially entered in the National Associations Register on 2 October 2006 with registration number 587830.
Both parties appear on behalf of the Institutions they respectively represent and mutually recognize each other’s capacity to enter into this agreement and therefore
FIRST. On 10 December 2013 the Official State Bulletin published Act 19/2013 of 9 December on Transparency, Access to Public Information and Good Governance, whose objective is to broaden and reinforce transparency in public activities, regulate and guarantee the right to access information regarding those activities and establish the obligations of good governance that must be fulfilled by public officers and private bodies that receive public funds as well as the consequences derived from any breach thereof.
SECOND. The Spanish Episcopal Conference is interested in implementing a true transparency policy in its functioning that constitutes a key linchpin for its activities to thus become a model of transparent management.
In this way it combines an extensive catalogue of active advertising obligations with basic state requirements, facilitates citizens’ right to access public information and establishes instruments and measures that encourage citizens’ engagement.
THIRD. Transparencia Internacional España (hereafter TIE) is an association formed under Organic Law 1/2002 of 22 March, which regulates the Right of Association and its complementary rules, with legal status and full capacity to act. It is a non-profit association.
Among the TIE’s objectives is that of undertaking actions that permanently and continuously propitiate an increase in the level and openness of information that the different Spanish public and/or private institutions generate for the knowledge of the citizens.
TIE currently wishes to collaborate in the implementation of transparency practices in the SEC.
In accordance with the above, the signatory parties of this agreement, seeking to achieve greater transparency in the functioning of public authorities, agree to conform to the following
This agreement has the purpose of establishing a collaboration between the Spanish Episcopal Conference and the institution Transparencia Internacional España in favour of the common aim of achieving greater transparency in the functioning of the SEC.
SECOND. Commitments of the Spanish Episcopal Conference.
1.- The Spanish Episcopal Conference undertakes, through the signing of this agreement, to gradually adopt a more transparent operational policy in compliance with national and international standards in this field based on regulations in force and in accordance with the limitations derived from them.
2.- It equally undertakes, as covered in the Annex to this agreement, to establish measures of transparency and opening up of data that facilitate the public accountability of this institution’s accounts.
THIRD. TIE Commitments.
TIE undertakes to conduct regular controls of and necessary advisory functions for the SEC to fulfil the objectives established by Transparency International with the highest levels of quality, especially in all the points listed in the Annex to this agreement.
FOURTH. Monitoring committee.
In order to monitor the execution and implementation of this agreement, a monitoring committee has been created comprised of four members and integrated by two representatives of each one of the signatory institutions in accordance with the following:
- On the part of the Spanish Episcopal Conference: Mr Fernando Giménez Barriocanal and Ms Ester Martín Domínguez.
- On the part of the TIE, Mr Jesús Lizcano Alvarez and Mr Beltrán Gambier.
The committee shall meet at least once a year and as many times as necessary for the smooth execution of the agreement, at the request of either of the parties.
It shall be the monitoring committee’s task to ensure the proper enforcement of the agreement, driving the performance of as many actions as may be necessary for its implementation and execution.
FIFTH. Agreement period.
This agreement shall remain in force for a two-year period from the day of its signing and shall be renewable by express agreement of both parties for the same period. Said agreement shall come into effect through the joint document signed by both parties.
SIXTH. Termination of the agreement and early termination.
This agreement shall be terminated at the expiry of the agreed time period if it has not been renewed.
Furthermore, the agreement may be terminated for any of the following reasons:
- By mutual express agreement of the parties.
- Non-compliance or serious irregularities in the execution of the agreement.
- By the express action of either of the parties, formulated at least one month before the date on which the parties seek to terminate the agreement.
SEVENTH. Data protection.
The compliance of the obligations of this agreement shall meet the requirements derived from Organic Law 15/1999 of 13 December on Personal Data Protection in terms of confidentiality of information and results, applying any technical, administrative, IT-related and organizational measures that may be required for complying with the legal requirements and, in particular, guaranteeing the security and integrity of the data and their protection against unauthorized alterations, loss, processing or access.
No financial obligations with an impact on budget are directly derived from the commitments assumed by the parties as a consequence of this Agreement.
NINTH. Litigious nature and issues.
Any litigious issues that may arise from the interpretation and enforcement of this agreement that cannot be resolved by the monitoring committee shall be made known to and placed under the competence of the contentious-administrative jurisdictional order.
In compliance with all of the above, and in exercising the powers held by the signatories, they sign this agreement in triplicate in the place and on the date indicated in the heading.
Madrid, 31 de May de 2016
COMPROMISOS ASUMIDOS POR LA CONFERENCIA EPISCOPAL ESPAÑOLA EN MATERIA DE COMMITMENTS ASSUMED BY THE SPANISH EPISCOPAL CONFERENCE IN MATTERS OF TRANSPARENCY
The Spanish Episcopal Conference undertakes, in accordance with the regulations in force and pursuant to the limitations derived from it, to carry out the following actions aimed at increasing the level of transparency and openness of information of the Conference itself and of the bodies and institutions attached to it:
- To make publicly known the results of the Income Tax Campaign in regard to tax allocation in favour of the Church.
- To provide financial information on the apportionment of the funds raised through each year’s tax allocation.
- To launch the Transparency Portal of the Spanish Episcopal Conference, one that provides information on tax allocation and other possible national agreements managed by the Episcopal Conference.
- To draft and disseminate the Annual Report on the activities of the Catholic Church in Spain, one that includes information on the different actions that are undertaken on a consolidated level by the institutions of the Church in our country.
- To submit the Annual Report of the Catholic Church to a review process conducted by one of the major international auditors.
- To promote the transparency portal in all the dioceses (70 dioceses).
- To develop an adaptation of the Accounting Plan of non-profit bodies for religious institutions (dioceses, parishes, associations, brotherhoods, fraternities, etc.).
- In a first phase, to implement an Accountability Office for nationwide religious foundations and associations.
- To draft good-practices manuals for the Episcopal Conference that can be applied in the diocesan sphere.
- Once the Accounting Plan is approved, to take the necessary steps to submit the accounts of the Episcopal Conference to an accounting audit.