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Failure to pay for the work carried out by a freelance consultant

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  • Case: 784/2009/(GP)IP
    Opened on 17 Jun 2009 - Decision on 18 Mar 2011
  • Institution(s) concerned: European Police College
  • Field(s) of law: General, financial and institutional matters
  • Types of maladministration alleged – (i) breach of, or (ii) breach of duties relating to: Fairness [Article 11 ECGAB]
  • Subject matter(s): Execution of contracts
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Summary of decision on complaint 784/2009/(GP)IP against the European Police College (CEPOL)

The complainant is an Italian citizen who worked as an Educational Expert consultant for the European Police College (CEPOL) between April and August 2008. During this period, the complainant participated in three meetings and carried out preparatory and follow-up work relating thereto. Due to several administrative problems, the complainant carried out her work without having signed a contract with CEPOL. In August 2008, CEPOL asked her to stop working because, contrary to its previous belief, the relevant rules did not allow it to sign a contract with her. CEPOL nevertheless offered EUR 1 000 to the complainant as compensation for her participation in the two meetings in which it explicitly authorised her to participate. CEPOL also apologised to her for the inconvenience caused. Nevertheless, the complainant was not satisfied with the offer and turned to the Ombudsman. She claimed that CEPOL should pay her a total sum of EUR 2 500, which covered all the work she carried out in relation to the above meetings.

After assessing the information provided by the complainant and by CEPOL, it emerged that, according to CEPOL, the payment to the complainant for her preparation and follow-up work could not be made for the sole reason that there was no written contract. The Ombudsman noted, however, that CEPOL had already offered to pay the complainant for other related activities that were not covered by a written contract.

The Ombudsman believed that it would be consistent with the principles of good administration for CEPOL to take an extra step. In this regard, he made a proposal for a friendly solution inviting CEPOL to consider paying the complainant, in addition to the sum of EUR 1 000 already offered, the sum of EUR 600 corresponding to the preparatory and follow-up work relating to her participation in the two meetings in which CEPOL explicitly authorised her to participate. CEPOL confirmed that it agreed with the Ombudsman's proposal. The complainant expressed her satisfaction with the outcome of her case and thanked the Ombudsman for his work.