Practice category: Training
Contact: Central Anti-Corruption Bureau
Fraud risk(s) countered:
- Conflict of interest
- Avoidance or manipulation of public procurement procedures
- Double funding
- Manipulation of project costs
Context and objective(s)
Poland’s Central Anti-Corruption Bureau (CBA) is a special government body with police and monitoring powers. CBA’s objective is to combat corruption in public and private sectors, particularly in government institutions and local governments and, more generally, in every activity that endangers the state’s economic interest. CBA currently employs 1194 officers and 166 civil servants.
Based on the pressing need for anti-fraud training that was identified while investigating fraud cases, and on the extensive experience gained, CBA decided to invest in the creation of anti-fraud training.
The e-learning platform (https://szkolenia-antykorupcyjne.edu.pl/) is the first, public, free anti‑corruption platform in Poland with anticorruption training courses for all those interested in the subject of corruption, in particular for public officials, entrepreneurs, students and pupils.
The first conceptual work on its foundation began in 2012, along with the submission of a grant application to the European Commission. The following assumptions were made:
- the platform will operate for 30 months,
- during that time, 4.5 thousand people will be trained.
The e-learning platform of the Central Anti-Corruption Bureau was launched on 21 May 2014. This was the first generally accessible internet platform in Poland containing anti-corruption training sessions. The access to this internet platform is contingent on new users registering themselves. The username and the password are defined by the user and enable the user to log into the system.
Description of the practice
The training sessions were meant to address the broadest possible group of recipients, so that the knowledge about the corruption threats and the fight against corruption could reach the whole spectrum of society. The online training course aimed to raise awareness among public officials, clerks, public administrations and businesses about corruption. To do so, the content of the training course was based on real-life case studies. As part of the training, participants learn about possible behaviours to adopt when dealing with corruption. Participants are also provided with more topic-specific training material prepared by CBA, such as recommendations on anti-corruption proceedings when using public procurement procedures.
The platform contains three training sessions:
Each module consists of 9-10 lessons. It takes about 45 minutes to complete each lesson. The entire course – consisting of 3 modules – is available in two language versions: Polish and English. Every lesson contains a static text and dialogues, animated scenes, audio/video materials and contents provoking discussion and interaction. Each module is completed with a knowledge test. Once completed, the participant can generate a certificate confirming the completion of the training.
Originally, the e-learning platform was set-up as part of the Prevention of and Fight against Crime Programme supported by the European Commission. The original budget of setting up an e-learning programme was around EUR 180,000. These included fees of external experts and IT software developers. The original project team consisted of:
In 2015, after 3 years of project implementation, once the EC project finished, the platform became the ownership of CBA. At that time, the CBA team decided to modernise and shorten the content of the training, based on user feedback. With growing internal expertise, CBA didn’t need the external expertise to produce the content of the e-learning anymore and relied on internal human resources.
In November 2017, the modernisation of the platform was completed. The modification concerned the substantive content of the Polish language version, as well as the technological solutions of the website itself. Since the entry into force of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the CBA training platform has been re-modified to abide to the new regulations. As of 25 May 2018, it does not collect or process personal data. In March 2019, training in the English language version was modernised.
The update of the e-learning aimed to make it more visual, compact and interactive. The team implemented the latest IT solutions for e-learning, including animation, voice-over text and tests to verify the knowledge of users. The update of the e-learning courses took place between 2016 and 2017 with the overall budget of EUR 80,000. The choice not to involve external experts as well as not to collect and manage personal data since May 2018 dramatically reduced the cost of the update and allowed for low maintenance costs (about EUR 650 per month).
First launched in May 2014, the CBA e-learning was the first free e-learning platform in Poland, accessible using a username and password. Since the update in May 2018, no personal data is required to register for the e-learning training, making it even more accessible.
CBA anti-corruption e-learning has several unique features that contributed to its success and wide uptake:
- Free of charge access to the e-learning
- Short thematic modules that could be completed in 45 minutes to an hour
- Highly targeted and compact content, relevant for public servants and targeted to the Polish and international regulatory context
- International coverage with Polish and English versions of the e-learning
- E-learning is based on the latest IT developments
- Improved accessibility with the possibility to read and listen to the materials (special accessibility features for impaired persons), wide use of interactive tools like animation and tests
- Possibility of receiving a Certificate from CBA upon the completion of the course.
Outcomes and results
Only three months after the e-learning platform was launched, 4,500 persons were already registered (an original target for 30 months of operation); After 12 months, this figure rose to 22,000.
In order to disseminate information about the e-learning platform, different promotional measures were undertaken. Firstly, a brief note was sent to the media with the description of the project. Secondly, CBA sent letters to ministries, other central institutions, and universities informing and inviting teachers, researchers, and students to take part in the courses. Shortly after, the information about the launch of the platform was sent to all central government agencies and institutions, provincial offices and the marshals’ offices in provinces around Poland. Then, before the start of the academic year, the information about the platform and the courses was sent to rectors of universities that lecture on national security. Lastly, the online training was promoted during in-person training provided by CBA.
CBA has actively promoted the English version of the online platform among anti-corruption authorities in Europe, shared the information with the Europol platform for Experts, European Partners Against Corruption/ European Anti-Corruption Network, GRECO and other authorities. To further increase the use of the platform, CBA regularly publishes social media posts with the number of users registered in the e‑learning course.
The platform currently has 186,361 members who have enrolled in at least one of the training courses. Although the current version of the training does not collect data about the country of the users, the previous version recorded the participation in English-language training from Czech Republic, Slovakia, Moldova, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, United Kingdom and Austria.
- Create a mobile app to make the information even more accessible
- Develop additional learning courses (panel discussions) on compliance and integrity
- Develop a train-the-trainers programme
Ultimately, CBA aims to create a universal international e-learning platform, allowing countries to have a national plug-in, thus developing content targeted to national needs and regulation specifications in different languages.
Key success factors
Six years of implementation of the e-learning platformed allowed for an exhaustive study of the key success factors:
- A specific regulatory environment. The National Anti-Corruption Strategy of Poland obliged public authorities to provide anti-corruption training to all employees. This uncovered the great need for a training offer. The free online training platform came at the right time to address those needs.
- Public discussion on corruption in Polish society, specifically among youth increased the interest in the topic and the uptake of the initiative.
- Free access to the e-learning platform allowed youth and students to benefit from it.
- Attractive format of the training: short, visual and interactive courses, split into topics, were well received by users.
- Certificate of completion is valued by the users and nowadays is even required by some HR teams due to the obligation imposed by employers to complete the trainings.
- Internally, the success of the e-learning programme relies on the capacity and knowledge of CBA experts, access to a database of fraud case studies and good practices, as well as access to historical data to forecast fraud trends and propose relevant content to the users regarding fraud in Poland and corruption risks.
Challenges encountered & lessons learned
- The initial investment for developing the e-learning course was quite high and could be covered by an EC project only.
- The content of the first version of the e-learning was too dense for the user: there was a fervent emphasis on numbers and data, requiring an average of 3 days to complete one training block. That was considered too time-consuming for users.
- Handling of the personal data was time- and budget-consuming. Therefore, CBA decided not to collect personal data of users for the updated version of the e-learning platform.
- Internal capacity and knowledge of the team implementing the e-learning is a key to success. For successful implementation, CBA assesses the following team needs (depending on the target group of users): trainer in anti-corruption, experienced investigators, compliance officers, experts in specific fields, IT experts and even phycologists, to tailor the content and format to the attention span of users.
Potential for the transferability
- The content of the e-learning platform should be based on national needs and the regulatory framework. CBA has worked with authorities in Moldova, Northern Macedonia, Slovakia and Lithuania to transfer the knowledge on the e-learning platform and in some cases share the virtual machine on which the IT solution of the training is based (i.e. Moldova and Lithuania). However, one should note that the training content should be tailored to each country and each specific target group.
- The initial set up of the platform is timely and costly. CBA’s experience shows that development of an e-learning platform requires the work of a team of experts, both internal and external.
- The success of the English version of the CBA e-learning platform suggests that similar tools are needed in other EU countries.