Integrity Services

How you can manage fraud and corruption risks

With the new approach to managing fraud and corruption risks in councils, additional resources are needed. Councils have to put in place change management, setting up all the policies and procedures, establishing appropriate attitudes to fraud and corruption, disseminating those attitudes from the top, down to all councillors and employees, as well as others in the community or having business dealings with the council and designing and conducting training for existing and new employees.

Councils also have to create systems to handle reports to the council of actual or suspected fraud and corruption or by the council or CEO to various regulators and to keep records of all these reports.

If there is an incident, the CEO may have the duty to investigate. Investigations required by the Crime and Corruption Commission are often extremely detailed and may take a large chunk of the CEO's time.

Our recommendation to Councils is to have an independent integrity officer to take care of all aspects of the fraud and corruption risk management. This distances the Integrity Officer from internal politics, bonds, and allegiances, and allows for respected independent judgement.

It also avoids time conflicts having a negative impact on the implementation process, After all, most of our senior staff, who already have too much to do, really do not need the extra workload of the fraud and corruption control work. In particular setting up council-wide procedures, review of all policies and procedures, and training all staff. Managers are still responsible for day-to-day fraud and corruption risk prevention, but the additional, council-wide tasks may need the additional resource.

The work of fraud and corruption risk management requires specialised knowledge and skills. Whist these can be obtained over time, there is little doubt that an officer focussing on just that aspect of council governance will bring an expertise which is unlikely to be available in-house.