Awards night: a show of ingenuity

4 Mar 19

Celebrating the public sector’s counter fraud workforce can act as a deterrent and highlight best practice, CIPFA chief executive Rob Whiteman explains.  

counter fraud team of the year 2018

 

With much applause, winners of the Government Counter Fraud Awards took to the stage last night to hold aloft their trophies. More than 200 government counter fraud experts were in attendance to celebrate the awards, and between them they represented every corner of the UK, every part of the public sector, as well as the diverse nature of the counter fraud workforce.

There were eight awards presented, with winning nominations labelled ‘extraordinary’ and ‘evolutionary’ by judges – and for good reason. This was a showcase of the best of the best of counter fraud in the UK, and the impact of the professionals in the room has saved the UK government millions of pounds.

While there is a lot more work to be done, with fraud estimated to cost the UK government between £31bn and £49bn every year, there is a huge amount to be celebrated. John Manzoni, head of the Civil Service and permanent secretary for the Cabinet Office, highlighted this when he opened the awards.

The importance of counter fraud cannot be underestimated. Not only does fraud divert resources away from the individuals and communities who need it most, it undermines public trust in government. But despite stretched resources and a constantly shifting landscape, the awards show counter fraud practitioners are proving incredibly resourceful and creative.

Every one of the winners and nominees should feel incredibly proud of all they have accomplished. A theme that ran through the awards was the strength and effectiveness of collaboration, innovation, and communication in counter fraud. And it is incredibly important that their stories are told; that we share in their success.

There are, of course, two clear reasons for telling our counter fraud stories. The first reason is as a deterrent. To warn potential criminals of the consequences of their actions should they attempt to cheat the system. To let it be known that they will be caught, and that the public sector has zero tolerance of fraud. That we will find them. That crime will not pay.


'By bringing together some of the most brilliant counter fraud professionals from the UK, with examples of best practice from around the sector, stories of courage and tenacity that strike to the heart of fraudulent practices, and successes that can often be repeated, we strengthen the profession as a whole.'


The second reason, of course, is to learn from each other. By bringing together some of the most brilliant counter fraud professionals from the UK, with examples of best practice from around the sector, stories of courage and tenacity that strike to the heart of fraudulent practices, and successes that can often be repeated, we strengthen the profession as a whole.

While you will hear about the stories of our winners more in coming weeks, I would like to highlight that their work affected everyone in the UK. From small professionals, to our business communities and taxpayers. Their success can be seen internationally, with prevention and awareness campaigns going far beyond our borders.

In just one room, we had many teams from HMRC, the NHS, the Charity Commission, police forces, councils, the Department for Work and Pensions, and more, as well as the awards partners: CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre, the Cabinet Office, City of London Police, and the National Crime Agency. I do not doubt, as a result, that many walked out with new partnerships and ideas.

CIPFA is proud to support such a crucial event for celebrating counter fraud excellence, and sharing best practice across the profession, and we do hope that everyone joins in again next year to enter their nominations into what has become the premiere event for counter fraud professionals.

  • Rob Whiteman
    Rob Whiteman

    Chief executive of CIPFA since 2013, after leading the UK Border Agency and the Improvement & Development Agency. Previously, he was CEO at Barking and Dagenham council.

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