Public Independent Conciliator
Public Independent Conciliator
In the Anglo-Saxon tradition, it is customary to set up independent authorities responsible for settling disputes between users and regional and council administration.
In line with this logic, Law No.2019/24 of 24 December 2019 to institute the General Code of Regional and Local Authorities provides for an independent authority called the Public Independent Conciliator (PIC) in the North-West and South-West Regions. The office holder is by no means a legal authority or a judge, as the competences and powers entrusted to him are not of a legal nature.
The PIC is responsible, inter alia, for amicably settling disputes between users and the regional and council administration, defending and protecting rights and freedoms with regard to the relationship between citizens and the region or the councils thereof, conducting any investigation on the functioning of regional and council public services and preparing a report on the functioning of regional and local councils.
As indicated in the above-mentioned remit, the scope of the PIC is limited to regional and council administration, as well as to public services, establishments or enterprises in its area of competence. Thus, the PIC has no power or jurisdiction with regard to the operation of the State’s public services, in particular the deconcentrated services (Governor’s Offices, Senior Divisional Offices or Divisional Offices, Regional, Divisional Delegations or Sub-divisional Inspectorates, etc.) and the public establishments and enterprises created or managed directly or indirectly by the State. It may not control the State and its branches.
The PIC is appointed by decree of the President of the Republic, upon the concerted proposal of the President of the Regional Executive Council and the representative of the State. This mode of appointment is a good indication of the status of the person who will assume this function, because it will be a consultation between two authorities within the region. In addition, the Code lays down criteria with a view to strengthening the credibility of this authority. He or she must be a highly experienced personality with reputed integrity and proven objectivity.
In order to guarantee his independence and neutrality, the PIC is appointed for a six-year non-renewable term. Failure to renew the mandate increases his independence in that he does not expect to be reappointed, and will not be accountable to anyone. As such, he shall not receive or seek instructions within the limits of his powers. His term of office is longer than that of regional and council elected officials, giving him control over them. His duties are incompatible with those of any other public office or employment, or the exercise of any paid professional activity. He takes an oath before the relevant Court of Appeal before assuming office. Professional secrecy is not enforceable against him. All these elements guarantee his independence.
The PIC is an accessible, democratic authority, within everyone’s reach. He can be contacted by any natural or legal person who considers that his rights and freedoms have been violated by the functioning of the regional or council administration. He may only intervene under specific conditions laid down by law.
The PIC has powers over relations with regional and council public services. He may issue them recommendations or injunctions when he realizes that the regional or council administration refuses to settle the dispute submitted to him or to take his injunctions. Finally, he has the power to publish reports prepared against administrations under his jurisdiction. It is provided that a decree of the President of the Republic shall lay down the terms and conditions for discharging the duties of Public Independent Conciliator.