Building an anti-fraud culture for your organisation


As fraudsters become increasingly savvy in their approach, we are faced with the challenge of crafting organisational cultures which not only understand fraud risks, but also focus on proactive risk control. Following the publication of the Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally 2016 documents in March, we now take a pause to reflect on how we can continue, as counter fraud professionals, to better safeguard our organisations.

As the first of our six-part series into Fighting Fraud and Corruption Locally, we focus on anti-fraud cultures – how to build them, and the importance of these. You may wish to follow the framework set out in the Companion document, using this as a benchmark for your organisation.

Tips for improving your organisation culture

This list is not exhaustive, but actions should include ensuring that: ­

  • Culture involves a robust and consistent tone from the top ­
  • Fraud awareness training is provided for senior staff and elected members so that roles and responsibilities are clear ­
  • The whistle-blowing arrangements for fraud and corruption are publicised and that it is communicated clearly that referrals will be acted upon ­
  • Reports to elected members cover numbers of cases actioned and trends ­
  • The policy of consistent and fair action is publicised – so that it is clear that something will happen to fraudsters ­
  • Members of the public have trust in the counter fraud team, will report cases and see they have value for money ­
  • The counter fraud team is viewed as a function with integrity and professionalism and a ‘go-to’ place for advice and support ­
  • Practitioners within the local authority work with the counter fraud team and view counter fraud activity positively ­
  • There are clear policies (e.g. anti-bribery and corruption, declarations of interest) that are applied consistently across the authority ­
  • Local authorities should work internally to fraud-proof new policies and procedures.

Having a dedicated counter fraud team is key to sustaining an anti-fraud culture. Ideally, your counter fraud team will function independently across departments, ensuring objectivity and support across the entire network.

How CIPFA can help

To ensure you continue to comply with your governance framework, training in specific areas of fraud is available.

CIPFA offers a suits of training products which your employees and stakeholders can engage with, providing competency in understanding and identifying fraud risks. Visit our website to find out more.

CIPFA also has a number of qualifications available for those working in counter fraud who wish to boost and refine their skills in the field. These courses, which gain CPD points, provide the relevant skills and techniques to successfully combat fraud.

The CIPFA Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist (CACFS) qualification is suited to practitioners who undertake counter fraud and anti-corruption investigations and associated activities.

The CIPFA Accredited Counter Fraud Technician (CACFT) qualification offers a comprehensive introduction to fraud and corruption learnings, and it suited to those in a position to spot fraud in its early stages, or who are new to counter fraud or anti-corruption work.

The CIPFA Certificate in Anti-Bribery and Corruption Studies (CABCS) has been developed with the City of London’s Police Economic Crime Academy, and is aimed at practitioners managing organisational bribery and corruption risks.

The CIPFA Certificate in Fraud Risk Management offers the in-depth skills and knowledge required for counter fraud, audit and risk and compliance professionals to create an effective risk management framework.

As your culture evolves over time, though education and training, your organisation will become competent in identifying and reporting fraud, and in turn, grow a positive working environment for fraud and corruption prevention. It is, therefore, imperative that both your specialist team and employees are aware of, and across current and future fraud risks, for your best shot at preventing fraud and corruption in your organisation.