Government Counter Fraud Awards: Driving innovation, accelerating change

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30 Nov 18

The Government Counter Fraud Awards 2019 have now been extended until 7 December.  CIPFA takes another look back at some of the previous winners, this time with those handed the 2017 Government Counter Fraud Team of the Year Award

Internal audit standards have been updated to include 10 core principles that can be used to demonstrate effectiveness and value

 

When new kid on the block, the Government Internal Audit Agency Counter Fraud and Investigation team, stole the limelight at the 2017 Government Counter Fraud Awards by winning the Counter Fraud Team of the Year Award, it created a springboard for GIAA to accelerate its development.

A specialist provider of both internal audit and counter fraud services to central government, the Government Internal Audit Agency (GIAA) is an Executive Agency of HM Treasury. The aim of their CF&I team is to be a primary, trusted and expert provider of consistent, high quality counter fraud and investigation services across government. Securing the Award has given credence to this vision.  

Winning the award proved a wonderful surprise for Neil Green, Head of Counter Fraud and Investigation at GIAA, and his team.  When describing the experience, Neil said: “Team of the year was one of the final awards to be announced. As we were listening to the names of the amazing finalists being read out it took us a moment or two to realise we were the overall winner. My initial thought was ‘wow we did it!’

“I felt such pride on behalf of the whole team and the fantastic work we had achieved in a relatively short space of time. When we won the award, it was early days for us, and we were only 15 months in on our long-term strategy and vision. At that stage we had delivered our offering to just 20 organisations compared to 45 organisations today.  

“Winning the Team of the Year Award gave us formal recognition and credibility. Like fuel to a fire, winning the award gave us extra energy, motivation, impetus and ambition to do more and to be even better.”

Catalyst for improvement

At the time of the awards, the GIAA Counter Fraud and Investigation team had only been in existence for 15 months, having joined the agency in April 2016. It had already made a significant contribution to improving the way fraud is addressed within government.  

Winning the Award acted as a catalyst for improvement and since winning the team has not only delivered hundreds of investigations, but importantly provided practical assistance to a wide range of departments and government organisations. From support with improving counter fraud policies and processes, and producing informative fraud risk assessments, to conducting proactive fraud detection exercises.

The GIAA team has also worked in collaboration with the Cabinet Office and a number of other government departments and agencies, and taken a lead role in the development of the Counter Fraud Function, Counter Fraud Standards and accreditation for the newly launched Government Counter Fraud Profession.

What is the secret to their success?

“From day one of our existence,” explains Neil, “we’ve focused on maintaining a positive mindset.  We truly are a customer focused agency and each customers’ needs are different, so we’ve invested time and effort getting our customer relationships right. This means really understanding what each customer wants and expects. Strong relationships and rapport are key. Without this all the other elements are at risk.  Our primary recommendation is to always invest well in the first stage of a customer relationship.”

New horizons

November has proved a good time to reflect.  Neil Green concludes: “Don’t be put off by the process of entering. We found the process relatively straight forward; working together as one team to tell our story. If you believe you also have a good story to tell, then go ahead and enter the awards.  

“At the time of the 2017 Government Counter Fraud Awards our offering was relatively new, so we were sometimes viewed as newcomers to the counter fraud community. Winning the Team of the Year Award has enabled us to grow and build our team plus evolve our service offering, and importantly, to do this at an incredible rate.  

“It’s also opened doors to relationships and conversations with a wide range of other organisations and individuals, including a number overseas, such as St Helena Government and the Government of Indonesia.”

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