CIPFA fraud centre launches whistleblowing course

15 Jul 15

CIPFA’s Counter Fraud Centre has launched a whistleblowing course to support public sector staff in efforts to tackle fraud and misconduct at work.

The new e-learning package forms part of the CFC’s education programme to highlight the importance of robust, transparent and supportive whistleblowing policies to prevent fraud or misconduct at work.

The course, which has been developed in collaboration with whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work and audit firm Mazars, will set out how to raise and report concerns at work, as well as clear up ‘grey areas’ around processes, complaints and definitions. It can be used in organisations where a whistleblowing policy already exists, and is intended to provide staff with a comprehensive understanding of whistleblowing and why it is important.

CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre head Rachael Tiffen said employees play a vital role in any organisation’s counter-fraud efforts as they frequently drive and develop workplace culture.
“The new whistleblowing e-learning package empowers staff to do the right thing if they witness any wrongdoing at work and it also covers why it’s important to create an environment where this is possible,” she said.

“Whistleblowing is not limited to a single industry or sector. Whistleblowing arrangements are a vital component of good governance and risk management for hospitals, banks, care homes, charities, and public services. The benefits of getting this right and listening to a concern raised can help to prevent disaster, avoid a costly legal claim and potentially preserve a reputation.”

Public Concern at Work chief executive Cathy James said that too often the charity heard from whistleblowers that organisations did not listen.
“The value of making it safe and effective for staff to speak up, listening to them when they do, and ensuring they are protected from retaliation cannot be denied,” she added.

“We hope that this e-learning package will encourage a much needed change in culture and would urge organisations to rise to the challenge of achieving the gold standard in whistleblowing practice.”

Gareth Davies, head of public services at Mazars, added that early detection of fraud or malpractice often depended on whistleblowers sounding the alarm.
“Case after case has demonstrated the importance of a clear culture of support and encouragement for whistleblowers,” he said.

“We are delighted to have supported the development of this e-learning tool which we believe will help increase the confidence of staff at all levels in speaking up when they see something going wrong.”

The e-learning programme is now available to purchase from the Counter Fraud Centre area of the CIPFA website. Initially, programmes specifically for local authorities and charities are available and can be tailored to suit individual organisations and to address specific needs.

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