How does the Reporting Office operate to enhance the protection of the information source of an occurrence reporting in order to strengthen Just Culture?
Occurrence reporting in aviation shall only serve the purpose of enhancing aviation safety. To ensure this tenet, which fosters the occurrence reporting process, informants shall not be penalised on the basis of their occurrence reporting – this is the key concept of Just Culture. These protection rules however, do not apply in cases of wilful misconduct or where there has been a manifest, severe and serious disregard of an obvious risk and profound failure of professional responsibility to take such care as is evidently required in the circumstances, causing foreseeable damage to a person or property, or which seriously compromises the level of aviation safety.
The purpose of the Reporting Office Aviation acting in accordance to Regulation (EU) No. 376/2014 is to protect the information source of an occurrence reporting. Individuals may report alleged infringements of rules by national authorities or by their employer/organisation to the Reporting Office. The Reporting Office then examines the case to identify if it is relevant to his activities and capabilities as specified in Regulation (EU) No. 376/2014 Art. 16. Cases that fall within the jurisdiction are then further analysed. The analysis aims to identify if the case involves an infringement of the protection principles by interviewing the reporter. If common consent is present, the relevant authorities and/or organisations can be additionally interviewed. After conclusion and if appropriate, the Reporting Office can then issue a recommendation towards the respective national authority.
Categories of Recommendation
The recommendation competencies of the Reporting Office are distinguished in three categories:
- Recommendations towards the FOCA regarding remedies.
- Recommendations towards the FOCA regarding application of penalties based on Regulation (EU) No. 376/2014 Art. 21. (The defined penalties are entailed in LFV Art. 141a).
- Recommendations towards the DETEC regarding instructions to the FOCA on Just Culture protection, respectively on adherence to Regulation (EU) No. 376/2014.
Additionally, the Reporting Office may ask in accordance to Regulation (EU) No. 376/2014 Art. 16(11) to review an organisation’s internal rules on how just culture principles, in particular the protection of the information source, are guaranteed and implemented.
Information that has been reported to the Reporting Office on a voluntary basis will be treated confidentially in accordance to Art. 7 para. 1 let. h of the Federal Act on Freedom of Information in the Administration (Freedom of Information Act, FoIA, SR 152.3). The Reporting Office services are free of charge.