new whistleblowing course to bolster public sector counter fraud armoury

15-07-2015

CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre in collaboration with Mazars and Public Concern at Work unveil fresh whistleblowing e-learning package.

Public sector workers are being encouraged to sign-up for a new whistleblowing e-learning course to help tackle fraud and misconduct at work.

The course will set out how to raise and report concerns at work, as well as clear up ‘grey areas’ around processes, complaints and definitions. 

The e-learning package is part of a wider education programme initiated by the CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre to highlight the importance of having a robust, transparent and supportive whistleblowing policy to help prevent fraud or misconduct at work and to protect employees.

The e-learning package has been developed in partnership with one of the Centre’s founding partners, international advisory and accountancy firm Mazars and whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work (PCaW). 

The course is suited for use in organisations where a whistleblowing policy already exists and is aimed at staff to provide a comprehensive understanding of whistleblowing and why it is important.

One of the key features of the new e-learning programme is that theory is brought to life through the use of high profile examples and sector specific case studies.  This ensures that participants benefit from examples of best practice, real life scenarios and up-to-date thinking. 

With scenario led content and case studies employees will learn:

  • What whistleblowing is
  • How best to blow the whistle/raise concerns
  • Where staff can blow the whistle/raise concerns
  • What to expect and how their organisation will support them
  • Rights and options for support.

Rachael Tiffen, former Deputy Director of the National Fraud Authority who now heads the CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre, said:

“Employees play a vital role in any organisation’s counter fraud armoury and they frequently drive and evolve 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.

“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.”

Cathy James, Chief Executive of the whistleblowing charity Public Concern at Work (PCaW), said:

“Too often we hear from whistleblowers that organisations are not listening. 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.

“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, said:

“In our experience as internal and external auditors, the early detection of fraud or malpractice often depends on whistleblowers sounding the alarm.  Case after case has demonstrated the importance of a clear culture of support and encouragement for whistleblowers. 

“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 available to purchase from the Counter Fraud Centre area of the CIPFA website from July 14th. 

Initially, programmes specifically for local authorities and charities are available. The programme can also be tailored to suit individual organisations and to address specific needs. Details of the whistleblowing workshops can also be found on the CIPFA website.

- Ends-

About CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre

The CIPFA Counter Fraud Centre offers experience, insight, advice and practical services to help tackle fraud and corruption across the public services.  Established in July 2014, it is the UK’s centre of excellence for counter fraud and aims to help public service organisations save money by increasing their ability to prevent, detect and recover losses from fraud.

The Centre blends tools, training and practical advice with independent consultancy to ensure that the public sector is more than just ‘fraud savvy’. Educating public sector organisations and then equipping them to deal with fraud and corruption is a primary objective for the Centre, as it develops into a one-stop-shop for counter fraud services.

About PCaW

Public Concern at Work (PCaW), the whistleblowing charity, runs a confidential advice line for workers who witness wrongdoing or malpractice in the work place. Since being established in 1993, the charity has advised over 18,000 whistleblowers to date. PCaW also works with organisations and campaigns on public policy to encourage workplace whistleblowing. For further information, please contact:  Cathy James, Chief Executive of Public Concern at Work on 0203 117 2520/ 07899 000 472.  Or visit www.pcaw.org.uk

About Mazars

Mazars is an international, integrated and independent organisation, specialising in audit, advisory, accounting and tax services. The Group operates in 73 countries and draws on the expertise of 14,000 professionals to assist major international groups, SMEs, private investors and public bodies at every stage in their development. In the UK, Mazars has over 1,500 partners and staff serving clients from 20 offices, and is ranked as the ninth largest audit firm nationally. Mazars’ dedicated Public Services team provides external audit, internal audit, counter fraud and advisory services to local authorities, police bodies, NHS organisations, universities and colleges, schools, government departments and NDPBs, social housing organisations and charities. The counter fraud team includes specialists in fraud risk management arrangements, data analysis, fraud testing and investigations. For further information, please contact Louisa Howells on +44 20 7063 4142 or at Louisa.Howells@mazars.co.uk. Or visit www.mazars.co.uk