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ambasciata_pretoria

SPECIAL TERMS OF CONTRACT FOR THE AUTHORISED PROVISION OF BACK-UP SERVICES FOR THE CONSULAR OFFICES (AND ITS RELEVANT USERS) REGARDING THE ISSUING OF VISAS TO ENTER ITALY.

Date:

08/30/2011


SPECIAL TERMS OF CONTRACT FOR THE AUTHORISED PROVISION OF BACK-UP SERVICES FOR THE CONSULAR OFFICES (AND ITS RELEVANT USERS) REGARDING THE ISSUING OF VISAS TO ENTER ITALY.

Article 1  -  DEFINITIONS

The term “VISA” shall from hereinafter mean and refer to the visa to enter Italy, whether in transit or for a short stay (VSU – Uniform Schengen Visa) or for a long stay (VN – National Visa).
The term “OFFICE” shall from hereinafter mean and refer to the Consular Office or the consular section of the Diplomatic Mission that is competent to issue visas.

The term “COMPANY” shall from hereinafter mean and refer to the contracting operator, identified by means of an appropriate selection process, which has signed a contract to provide its support services under concession as indicated above.

The term “MINISTRY” shall from hereinafter mean and refer to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Italy:

The word “PUBLIC” shall from hereinafter mean and refer to the body of public users benefiting from the globally considered services.


Article 2   -   PURPOSE

The service, as described herein, shall be rendered in terms of a concession to provide services, in compliance with Art. 30 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 163, dated 12 April 2006, whereby the chosen bidding Company assumes responsibility for the risks involved in undertaking and accurately carrying out the business.

Compensation for the accomplished services as provided by the contracting company shall be made up exclusively from any amount that will be added to the established consular fee applied to each Visa Application, as per the subject matter of the tender offer within the context of the call for biddings, absolving the consular Office, as well as the Italian State budget, from any financial encumbrance.

The Company undertakes to carry out, at its own and total cost (staff, users, premises), the following services in accordance with the terms of the contract:

a) Information regarding Visas and the issuing of Visas

The Company shall see to making available to the public, information regarding procedures and requirements for their Visa Applications, by means of a call-centre and a website and appropriate counters where the  public is received in person. The Company may also distribute any information that has been approved by the Office beforehand.


b) Setting appointments at the Office

The Company shall keep a calendar of appointments with the competent Office, on the basis of the availability to be communicated to them beforehand by the Office. Appointments shall be made through a call-centre, internet website, fax and electronic mail, on a strict first-come-first-served basis.

c) Collecting the documentation relating to Visa Applications and subsequently sending it to the competent Office

The Company shall receive Applications for Visa at its own dedicated counters, collecting the required accompanying documentation, then seeing to carrying out a preliminary examination of said documentation on the basis of the check-list supplied by the Office. Should the documentation, following such a check-list examination, be incomplete, the Company shall see to contacting the Visa Applicant, offering assistance regarding the missing documentation and allowing the applicant to integrate any missing required documents. In any case, the Company may not refuse to receive the documentation, even if it is incomplete, and must send it to the Office, if the Applicant insists on the Application being sent through as is. The Company shall submit all the Applications, together with the required documentation, to the Office, which Office is exclusively competent to further examine said Applications and come to a final decision regarding the issue or denial of a Visa. The Company shall see to sending each Visa Application and the required accompanying documentation to the Office within and not later than 2 working days from the time it was lodged.

d) Inserting the relevant visa application Information into a computerised data base

The Company, on the basis of the applications that have been collected and of the information supplied in the application, shall insert the applicant's relevant information into a computerised data base following the check-list supplied by the Office. The office shall be permitted, at all times, to gain access to the data-base to pick up information and to see how far along the application has progressed. The Office may arrange for the Company, under certain pre-determined conditions, to gain access to its personal data-base into which the Company’s staff, with the appropriate digital authorisation to be released by said Office, may insert certain requirements pertaining to the visa application they are working on that the Office may at any time require, in accordance with procedures set up by the Office.

e) Acquiring the Visa Applicant’s biometrical data

As and when the biometrical data requirement is introduced, the Company shall obtain digital fingerprints and photographs belonging to the Visa Applicant. The technical characteristics of the equipment and software used shall be set with reference to the parameters given by the Ministry. Storage and transmission of biometrical data shall be guaranteed with respect to the current Italian and European rules in force, with particular attention given when entering personal data.

f) Returning to the Applicant the passport in which the visa is affixed

Once the Office has handled the Visa Application, the Company shall return the passport and any relevant documentation to the Applicant without delay. In the event a Visa has been denied, the Company shall give the Applicant the relevant notice that has been dated and signed by the person at the Office in charge of the procedure, drawn up in compliance with the current Italian and European laws in force at that time. Furthermore, the Company shall ascertain that the Applicant in question affixes his signature to the notice as proof of receipt of said notice and that this is then sent back to the Office.

g) Proceeds from the fees collected

The Company shall collect, for and on behalf of the Office, the due consular fees and shall pay these to the Office.
With regard to the collection of said consular fees, the Company shall receive from the public the set amount for the consular fees on each completed Visa adding to that its own commission amount as proposed at the time of bidding for this contract, and then ensuring that the Office’s portion is paid over on a weekly basis, according to the number of visas processed.
In terms of current European laws the additional cost for services provided in connection with Visa Applications may not be greater, under any circumstance, than half the amount of the administrative fee that is due to the Office.
To such end, a ceiling shall also be established whereby the charges of providing information services and/or call centre activities added to the charges of any other service connected Visa Applications, may not, under any circumstance, be greater than the limit set and established in terms of the above.


Article 3   -   CONTRACTUAL DUTIES

The Company shall make available to the public, by arrangement and with the approval from the Office, the informative documentation and relevant Application forms relating to the application for a Visa.
The parties mutually acknowledge that the back-up services that are the purpose of this deed are merely support services, deprived of any compulsory characteristics for the public. Applicants may always and under any circumstance contact the Office without availing of the assistance of the Company.
The Company undertakes, therefore, to inform the public that it is free to choose whether or not to make use of the services it provides.
Any activity relating to access remains the exclusive competence of the Office.
Regarding the activities provided in terms of the above, the Company shall keep relevant records for one year only, starting from the date of issue or denial of the visa. However, the actual documentation produced by the applicant shall be stored at the premises of the Office. Accounting registers shall be kept anonymously for the period of time dictated by local provisions.


Article 4   -   STAFF TO BE ASSIGNED TO THE SERVICE

The staff assigned to provide the services as described hereabove shall be properly trained. Among this staff there shall be, at all times, at least one person that is able to master the Italian language with a sufficient degree of proficiency for every operational outlet (at least one in Johannesburg, one in Durban, one in Pretoria and one in Cape Town) and at least one such member of staff every ten in each office. The amount of people assigned to this service shall be commensurate with the amount of visas issued annually in the last three years. In order to maintain an adequate level of efficiency, the Company shall see to increasing or decreasing the number of persons assigned to the public based on statistical data per semester.


Art. 5 - Policy, direction and inspections

The Office exercises in respect of the activities of the contracted Company the power of policy and direction and acts so that the Company respects the terms and the conditions pertinent to the contract which is based on the current prevailing national and EU legislation on visas. In the course of its activity the Company is requested to follow scrupulously the instructions and guidelines indicated by the Office, both in relation to what is established by the above mentioned law in respect of the requirements for the issuance of a visa and in the organization of services which need to follow the principles of absolute transparency and correctness.

In respect of the activity of the contracted Company the Office exercises the power of supervision and control, monitoring closely the execution of the contract and verifying in particular: a) general information on the requisites for obtaining a visa and on the application forms given by the Company to the applicants; b) all the technical and organizational security measures necessary to safeguard personal information from accidental or unlawful destruction, from accidental loss, from alterations, from non unauthorized access and divulgation, in particular when the cooperation involves the transmission of applications and information to the Consulate, and from any other illegal form of handling of personal information; c) the collection and transmission of biometric identifiers; d) the measures undertaken to ensure the observance of the protection of personal information; e) any other profile of the activity of the Company that deals directly or indirectly with fairness, transparency and impartiality in the evaluation of the applications submitted and in their transmission to the Office. To this end the Office may undertake periodic random checks in the offices of the Company and may undertake at any time inspections without warning in the offices of the Company, and access the information systems to examine the archives and the financial data in order to verify the correctness of the Company with regards to the applicants (impartiality and correct action) and to the Office. In its function of supervision and control, the Office can request to see paper work, registrations and documents submitted with the applications as well as ask that telephonic conversations, relative to the contractual stipulations, are registered and reproduced. In its inspections the Office may use external consultants.


Art. 6 – Liaison Officers 

       
Within ten days of the signature of the contract, the company will identify which of its more qualified staff members will act as liaison officers between each of its operational outlets and the Office. These members of staff must be reasonably proficient in Italian. If at any time the relationship of trust is breached, the Office can request, unquestionably, that the person be substituted. Failure to do so would constitute an essential breach of contract.
The Office may also, if it finds that the person indicated by the Company as proficient in Italian does not have the level required, request his/her immediate and unquestionable substitution.


Art. 7 - Responsibility

The Company is wholly responsible for any possible compensation claims by the applicants.
To this end, the Company ensures that each applicant signs a clause of acceptance exonerating the Office of any responsibility and renouncing any judicial action against the Office as a result of defaults by the Company..


Art. 8 - Transfer of contract

The Company cannot cede to third parties the contract stipulated with the Office without having first obtained the formal consent of the Office. In the case of transfer of the contract, the Company remains fully responsible for the obligations of the assignee and takes responsibility with the Office with regards to any breach of contract.


Art. 9 - Dispositions for the protection of privacy

The Company undertakes to supply the applicants with information regarding the handling of personal information, as specified in Art. 13 of the legislative decree of 30 June 2003, n. 196 ( Code dealing with the protection of personal information), as well as any other useful indication pertinent to the rights that they would be entitled to in Art. 7 of the same decree.


Art. 10 - Guarantees and penalties

As a guarantee of the obligations hereby undertaken towards the Office as well as the users of the service, a deposit of ZAR 600.000 is required of the Company by means of a guarantee, on first request, with a primary insurance company, which covers also the possibility of fraud and negligence.
If the Company is in breach of contract the following penalties apply:

Delay in the transmission of applications:                 20 Euro per application per day
Errors or omissions due to fraud or negligence:         50 Euro per application
Unequal treatment :                                            100 Euro per person
Poor performance of the Company as a whole:         300 Euro per day
Failure to launch a website or poor functionality of web site: 500 Euro per day      

Fines will only be issued after formal notification of the charges.
If the Office is dissatisfied with the explanation furnished the office applies the relevant fines, drawing them directly from the deposit (see Art.10).
Alternatively, it terminates the contract for breach and appropriates the deposit, without prejudice of any greater amount that might be due by the Company for the damage caused.


Art.11 - Resolution of the contract

The parts agree that, over and above what is generally provided for in Art. 1453 of the Italian Civil Code for the cases of breach of contractual obligations, the following reasons also constitute breach of contract in accordance to art. 1456 of the civil code:
- termination of the contract without prior consent of the Office;
- unmotivated interruption of service;
- serious deficiencies or irregularities in the execution of the service;
- non replacement or slow replacement of the liaison person;
- written notification, by the Office, of more than ten complaints of bad service;
- payment of more than five penalties indicated in the previous article, or for a period of  five days or more.

In the above mentioned cases, the contract is resolved de jure with immediate effect after written communication by the Office in the form of a registered letter or other eligible means of communication, in accordance to the law and local customs.
The termination of the contract does not stop the Office from initiating legal action for compensation for damages sustained.
With the resolution of the contract the Office has the right to appropriate the entire deposit and to assign the service to a third party for the time necessary before proceeding to a new contract.
The Company will be responsible for all costs to publicize and re-assign the service.


Art. 12 - Escape clause

The Office can always terminate the contract with a formal written notice of at least two months  in advance.
The contracted Company may not terminate the contract before its expiry.


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