The OECD Watch NCP Evaluations assess NCPs on 40 organisational, procedural, and communications key performance indicators. The indicators represent civil society’s priorities for well-functioning NCPs and are all based in (required or allowed by) the OECD Guidelines’ Procedural Guidance for NCPs (Part II of the Guidelines).
Under the OECD Guidelines, governments are legally obligated to establish NCPs that are visible, accessible, transparent, and accountable, that are equipped to handle complaints in a manner that is impartial, predictable, equitable, and compatible with the Guidelines. The NCP Evaluations project shows that many OECD governments are not meeting these requirements. The Evaluations also show the steps NCPs can take to get there.
Purpose of the OECD Watch NCP Evaluations
The OECD Watch NCP Evaluations have a three-fold purpose:
- To improve the effectiveness of individual NCPs and the NCP system as a whole in achieving the NCP’s core mandate: to ensure the implementation of the OECD Guidelines by companies operating in or from their jurisdiction.
- To hold governments accountable to their binding commitment to set up an effective NCP
- To improve the predictability of both individual NCPs and the NCP system as a whole by providing civil society and other stakeholders with objective information about NCPs’ organisational composition, complaint-handling procedures, and communications performance. Predictability of the NCP system as a whole requires functional equivalence within the NCP system. Standardising information collected and provided about the various NCPs, such as in these evaluations, facilitates identification of areas in which functional equivalence does or does not exist, and awareness amongst NCPs of what approaches peers are taking to meet the expectations of the Procedural Guidance and/or advance objectives of the OECD Guidelines.
The NCP Evaluations reveal a number of performance trends. On the whole, NCPs are doing best on very basic aspects of communications. For example, most (but not all) maintain a website with their contact information, most publish the OECD Guidelines in English and a national language, and three-quarters provide instructions on their websites on how to file complaints.
But while many individual NCPs meet a majority of the expectations civil society has for them, as a general rule, most NCPs are underachieving on indicators that matter most to civil society.
Organisation & Governance
- One quarter of NCPs are located in an economics or trade ministry, raising civil society concerns about their impartiality, (perceived) conflict of interest and expertise in complaint-handling.
- Just five NCPs have an independent panel structure, the one shown by OECD Watch to be most associated with successful outcomes in complaints.
- Only one quarter of NCPs have a stakeholder advisory body involving civil society representatives.
- Only one quarter of NCPs have two or more full-time staff, and many have no full-time staff.
- Just one third of NCPs consistently follow-up on concluded complaints to verify if companies actually implement agreements and recommendations.
- One quarter of NCPs have not published complaint handling rules in English and their national language, and some still have no rules of procedure at all.
- Only 13 NCPs issue determinations in complaints as to whether the company has breached the Guidelines, something that is fundamental for establishing clear expectations of companies and vital for investors seeking to invest in responsible companies.
- Only 11 NCPs meet civil society’s expectations for transparency in the complaint process.
- Just five governments attach consequences to companies who refuse to engage in good faith in the NCP process.
- Only half of NCPs publish all final assessments on their website, despite the fact that this is legally required by the Guidelines.
- Just one quarter of NCPs publish their initial assessments of complaints, a step critical to promoting transparency and predictability in the complaint process.
- Fewer than half of NCPs maintain a complete complaint database.
- Just nine out of 49 NCPs have and publish an annual plan to promote the OECD Guidelines among business, union, and civil society stakeholders.
One of the best measures of overall performance is whether the NCP has the confidence of stakeholders. OECD Watch is committed to working with NCPs to help them implement their duties under the Procedural Guidance in a manner that wins them the confidence of civil society.