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In February and March 2023, the Cyprus Campus of the University of Central Lancashire (‘UCLan Cyprus’) was honoured to be at the heart of a four-part Continuing Professional Development (‘CPD’) Series entitled ‘Using Good Governance Against Bad Practices: The Role of Professionals in the UK, Cyprus and Beyond’.  

The Series consisted of three webinars organised by the School of Law of UClan Cyprus in association with the Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (‘ICPAC’) plus one Bespoke Online Event organised by the Chartered Institute for Securities and Investment (‘CISI’) in association with UCLan Cyprus and ICPAC.         

Against the background formed by a succession of corruption scandals in both the United Kingdom (‘the UK’) and the Republic of Cyprus (‘Cyprus’), the overall aims of the Series were three-fold.  One was to examine the principles of good governance.  The second was to explore what is meant by corruption, as well as fraud, bribery and transnational economic crime.  The third was to empower attendees with the requisite knowledge, understanding and moral courage to speak up in the face of any suspected wrongdoing.  Each webinar in the Series was structured accordingly.        

If the Series had any pervasive theme, it was the need for every state, such as the UK and Cyprus, to be endowed with an accountable, transparent, meritocratic and democratic society which is infused with respect for the rule of law, professional ethics and good governance.  While recognising that the attainment of this goal is much easier said than done, each speaker offered practical suggestions as to how certain steps could be taken in this direction.    

Another pervasive theme was the close relationship between the UK and Cyprus in the post-Brexit epoch.  Ironically, whereas the Series itself was an example of how this relationship may produce positive outcomes in enlightened fields, such as education, some of the subjects covered in the Series demonstrated how the relationship has a negative side to it, as illustrated by the murky field of transnational economic crime.  Indeed, one of the webinars in the Series was specifically devoted to that topic and how the UK and Cyprus may be affected by the same illicit scheme, particularly one giving rise to money laundering or other form of transnational economic crime.      

Perhaps the main conclusion to be drawn from the Series is the one articulated by Petros Florides, one of the speakers who kindly contributed to the Series: 

‘Even though there is no silver bullet to slay the corruption dragon, one of the weapons in the counter-corruption arsenal of any organisation should be good governance built on sturdy pillars, including ethics, transparency, accountability, probity and sustainability. With a clear set of principles upon which to define policy — further operationalised through comprehensive and robust systems and processes that are fit for purpose — it should be possible to engineer better outcomes, including professional behaviour that earns the trust and respect of stakeholders.’    

This conclusion was reinforced during the fourth CISI-organised webinar, which drew together some of the threads of the Series and had a self-explanatory title: ‘Speaking up: What can be done to promote whistleblowing against bad practices and wrongdoing’. The webinar encouraged organisations to introduce or improve their ‘speak up culture’.  The webinar gave individuals tips and tools to speak up with confidence, using real-life dilemmas and providing a guide to best practice.  At the same time, the webinar underlined the need for organisations to listen carefully and take appropriate action when somebody does ‘speak up’.

The concept of ‘speaking up’ was an appropriate one with which to wrap up the Series.  In the words of Amrita Bhogal, Professional Standards Manager at the CISI and one of the speakers at the fourth webinar:    

‘Individually negligent behaviour can cost businesses or other organisations significantly, both monetarily and in terms of reputational damage. Building a culture of honesty, integrity, trust and professionalism inspires confidence, which eventually improves an organisation’s standing in the marketplace.’

In common with previous CPD events organised or supported by the School of Law, this CPD Series was primarily but not solely aimed at lawyers, other professionals and students in the UK and Cyprus.  As such, the Series was pitched towards a broad range of persons who, irrespective of their levels of experience of expertise, must be aware of the risks inherent in bad practices, the vices inherent in corruption and the virtues associated with professional ethics, good governance and the lawful activation of whistleblowing procedures.      

In the interests of transferring knowledge beyond the delegates who attended each webinar ‘live’, UCLan Cyprus has placed the videos of Webinar 1, Webinar 2 and Webinar 3 on its YouTube channel. 

UCLan Cyprus has also placed two inter-linked videos relating to Webinar 4, as kindly organised by the CISI. Those videos can be found here and here.  

The programme publicising the Series, providing the topic of each webinar and offering links to the biographical profiles of each speaker is also in the public domain on the website of the UCLan Cyprus here and here.       

The School of Law thanks every chair, speaker, discussant and delegate who participated in the Series. The School of Law also thanks ICPAC and the CISI for the co-operation extended by each of them to the Series.  It was the latest outcome of the Memorandum of Understanding signed between the CISI and UCLan Cyprus in 2021, details of which are on the CISI website and also on the UCLan Cyprus website.