Virginia Peces, manager of the Legal Services and Consultancy at SENASA, explains how the aeronautical legal environment affects SENASA, what systems and tools have been put in place to successfully carry out our activity and how Legal Services works to advise and support our professionals, clients and suppliers.
How has the regulatory environment affected SENASA in recent years?
SENASA has experienced three major challenges in the legal field in recent years. In the first place, in terms of its legal regime as a public company, SENASA has seen how the regulatory requirements for state trading companies have increased. This meant an important change in terms of the philosophy and processes of the organization, as well as a period of adaptation to them. In addition to this, we found more restrictive requirements for a public company, such as SENASA, to be considered an Instrumental Mean, especially since the Public Sector Contracts Law of 2017.
Apart from that, SENASA's main activity in the aeronautical sector seems a strongly regulated industry, with complex, technical and constantly changing regulations due to technological advances, which implies that we have to be permanently updated.
Finally, there have been far-reaching changes both in criminal legislation and in legislation about protection of personal data and information security.
How are these regulatory challenges addressed in the legal field?
The briskness of the aeronautical sector, together with the changes in the regulatory environment that have took place in recent years and the growth of the organization, have posed a significant legal challenge. The future of companies' internal legal consultancies is to have a proactive philosophy within the organization and to get involved in business activities.
From the deep conviction that we are one more piece of the puzzle and based on our knowledge of both the industry legislative framework and the understanding of the organization's needs, from the area of Legal Services and Consultancy we support both the management team and all areas of SENASA so that our work is carried out in compliance with current legislation and ethical regulations within the organization, with high levels of satisfaction from our clients.
At SENASA both technical and legal representatives work in coordination as part of an integrated team, working for a common goal. It is necessary to be ready for the business from the design of a project to its execution.
Why do we have a Code of Ethics and what does it mean for SENASA inside and outside the company?
At SENASA we are not satisfied only with complying with current legislation, so we have voluntarily established a Code of Ethics that includes the values of the company and, therefore, is the basic standard that establishes the principles of conduct and action of each member of SENASA’s organization. From there all the rules that make us socially responsible come from, towards our workers and towards society, such as the Criminal Risk Management System, the Information Security Policy, the Data Protection Policy, or the Equality Plan, among others.
The first Code of Ethics was approved by the Presidency of SENASA in 2015. We have taken now a further step and it is the Board of Directors that has approved the current Code of Ethics. Some aspects have been reinforced, above all those related to confidentiality and professional secrecy of our professionals, the protection of intellectual property rights, and the limitation and transparency regarding the acceptance of gifts.
Externally, society is less and less tolerant of some conduct by companies, especially public ones, which are required more in their regulatory compliance models and in their standards of action. Citizens now demand from us solid ethical principles, a commitment to people, labor rights, equality, the environment, corporate social responsibility, transparency, in short, everything that contributes to a responsible business activity and that organizations we voluntarily assume in the form of codes of conduct. Society demands this more and more and companies that go this way will improve their position in the market.
Why was the Criminal Risk Prevention Body created and why do we have a Criminal Risk Management System in SENASA?
The creation of the Criminal Risk Prevention Body has been one of SENASA's great milestones in terms of regulatory compliance. It responds to a couple of modifications of the Penal Code, in 2010 and 2015, which meant the possibility that legal persons, including public commercial companies, could be considered criminally responsible for the commission of crimes. This was a considerable change in a legal system such as the Spanish one.
These amendments to the Penal Code also promoted the voluntary adoption by companies of self-control and crime prevention mechanisms as part of their responsibility for regulatory compliance.
At SENASA, this self-control mechanism has materialized in the approval, by the Board of Directors, of a Criminal Risk Management System. One of the key elements of this system is the Ethical Box Form which, although not new, we intend now to promote and encourage its use, since it is an important part of the Criminal Risk Management System. With its new location in SENASA website, it will be easier to send enquiries, suggestions, complaints and reports to the Criminal Risk Prevention Body to handle them. The most innovative aspect is that anyone will be able to send them anonymously, if so desired, and the confidentiality of those that are not anonymous is guaranteed. The Ethical Box Form aspires to be a tool that provides workers with greater safety and guarantees when carrying out their work.