Pursuant to the OECD Guidelines, each government which has signed up to the Guidelines is required to establish a National Contact Point (NCP). The tasks of the NCP are:
- To raise awareness of the Guidelines with employers and employees and civil society, and to promote their application.
- To work together with other NCPs and other governments, and to respond to the procedures which fall within the responsibility of the NCPs of other member states.
- To answer general inquiries and specific questions arising from the application of the Guidelines.
- To act as mediators between the different parties in the case of complaints and indications regarding breaches of the Guidelines.
The German NCP is based in the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi).
Federal ministries with a particular interest in the Guidelines form the Interministerial Steering Group for the OECD Guidelines which meets on a regular basis; in this body, all decisions and measures of the NCP are coordinated in detail and current issues relating to the OECD Guidelines and their further dissemination and the working methods of the NCP are discussed. The members of the group at present are, alongside the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy: the Federal Foreign Office, the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, the Federal Ministry of Finance, the Federal Ministry of Justice and Consumer Protection, the Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, and the Federal Ministry for Economic Co-operation and Development. If necessary, additional ministries may be called upon to provide specific expertise.
Finally, the Working Group on the OECD Guidelines includes representatives of the federal ministries, the social partners, the business associations and non-governmental organisations; it meets regularly to discuss fundamental issues relating to the Guidelines and to cooperate on promoting the application and dissemination of the Guidelines.
The OECD Investment Committee in Paris provides overarching support to the NCPs; it is responsible for interpreting the Guidelines and monitoring their effectiveness, facilitating a general exchange of experience and information, and coordinating the work of the National Contact Points.
The current addresses and contact details of the NCPs can be found here.
Every individual or organisation can submit a complaint against an alleged violation of the OECD Guidelines by a company to the relevant NCP. The NCP of the country in which the alleged violation took place is responsible for handling the complaint. If there is no NCP in this country, complaints should be submitted to the NCP in the country in which the company is headquartered.
Once a case has been received for consideration, a decision is taken following a careful evaluation drawing on detailed comments from the parties to the procedure as to whether the case justifies more in-depth examination. This is done in close cooperation between the NCP and the relevant ministries and the Interministerial Steering Group for the OECD Guidelines. For the case to be accepted for consideration, both parties must be capable of being a party to the proceedings, the NCP must be geographically responsible, and the complaint must fall within the scope of application of the Guidelines. If a case is inadmissible, both parties are informed of the reasons, and a summary of the grounds for the decision is published.
If the case is admissible, a mediation procedure takes place with a view to a constructive and joint solution. In this phase, the NCP provides a neutral discussion forum; with the aid of confidential separate and joint hearings and consultations, the aim is to work with the parties to find a solution. The procedure is based on comments from the complainant and the respondent, and if necessary on information from relevant agencies, experts, business representatives, NGOs and other NCPs. Furthermore, the Investment Committee can be asked to resolve questions of interpretation.
If an agreement is reached, the NCP publishes a final report outlining the course and resolution of the procedure. Even if no agreement can be reached via the mediation, the NCP publishes a final statement outlining the procedure and assessing the alleged violation of the Guidelines. Since the Guidelines are of a voluntary nature, this is not a judicial procedure; it is not possible to enforce compliance with the Guidelines or with the components of the final report in court.
The duration of the procedure depends on the special features of the case and is co-determined by a large number of players and factors beyond the NCP's sphere of influence. However, the NCP endeavours to undertake the initial assessment of the admissibility of the complaint and the applicability of the Guidelines within three months. Within the next six months, there should be clarity about the prospects for success of any mediation, and hopefully an agreement. Finally, the aim is for the NCP to publish a final statement within three months. The aim is to conclude the entire process within about a year. However, the special features of a case, and factors beyond the NCP's control, can mean that some cases last longer.
Contact in the Economic Affairs Ministry
Complaints must be submitted by email to the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, at firstname.lastname@example.org, and if possible be submitted in parallel by post to the
Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy
National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines in Germany (NKS)
Tel.: +49 30 18 615 - 7521
You can find further explanations in the "Procedural Notes" (PDF, 562KB) for the complaints procedure.
The wording of the principles governing the procedure in the OECD Guidelines can be found here (PDF, 81KB).