11 Jul 2022

On 11 July 2022 the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) published three reports dealing with integrity standards in Malta. One report reviews the operations of the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life; another report addresses the Standards in Public Life Act; and the third report presents proposals for the regulation of lobbying.

The reports were drawn up as part of a project entitled “Improving the Integrity and Transparency Framework in Malta”, which is being conducted by the OECD at the request of the Commissioner for Standards in Public Life. The project is being funded by the European Union through its Technical Support Instrument. The project was launched in September 2021 and will run for two years.

The report on the operations of the Standards Commissioner makes recommendations to facilitate the submission of complaints and to strengthen the capacity of his office.

The report on the Standards in Public Life Act recommends among other things that the Act should be extended to cover local councillors and members of government boards; the powers of the Commissioner for Standards should be strengthened; and the composition of Parliament’s Standards Committee should be altered.

The report on lobbying reviews proposals for a new law to regulate lobbying that were presented by the Standards Commissioner in February 2020. The OECD report broadly endorses the Commissioner’s proposals, while recommending some changes in the light of the OECD’s own expertise in this area.

The three reports were presented during a forum organised by the office of the Commissioner for Standards and held at the Casino Maltese in Valletta on 11 July 2022.

The keynote speaker at the forum was Kathryn Stone OBE, Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards of the UK House of Commons. János Bertók, Deputy Director of the OECD’s Public Governance Directorate, presented a summary of the OECD’s recommendations.

Other speakers were Dr George Marius Hyzler, Commissioner for Standards; Dr Tonio Borg, former minister in the government of Malta and former European Commissioner; and Iva Ruycheva, Special Advisor to Bulgaria’s Council of Ministers. In addition, the forum was also addressed via video link by Sébastien Renaud, from the European Commission’s Directorate General for Structural Reform Support, and Francesco Clementucci, from the Commission’s Directorate General for Migration and Home Affairs.

Participants at the forum included representatives from the authorities that enforce ethical standards in Croatia, Lithuania and Romania, as well as representatives from civil society, constituted bodies and independent state authorities in Malta.

The OECD reports are available from the links below.

Organisational review of the Commissioner’s office: https://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=GOV/PGC/INT(2022)8/FINAL&docLanguage=en

Review of the Standards in Public Life Act: https://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=GOV/PGC/INT(2022)9/FINAL&docLanguage=en

Review of the lobbying framework in Malta: https://www.oecd.org/officialdocuments/publicdisplaydocumentpdf/?cote=GOV/PGC/INT(2022)10/FINAL&docLanguage=en

The forum held on 11 July 2022
Dr George Marius Hyzler, Commissioner for Standards, addressing the forum
Ms Katherine Stone, UK Parliamentary Commissioner for Standards, during her keynote address
Mr János Bertók, Deputy Director of the OECD’s Public Governance Directorate
Dr Tonio Borg, former minister and EU Commissioner