A hot topic for discussion in counter fraud circles is the professionalisation of the industry. With the Rt. Hon. Theresa May MP announcing the launch of a new taskforce to combat fraud across the UK, counter fraud professionals may find themselves falling under the spotlight of attention as the media, Government, banks, and police focus on disrupting and preventing fraud.
Establishing and growing a professional body for counter fraud practitioners is vital. Setting the benchmark for excellence in a career in counter fraud ensures those working in the frontline are well equipped to detect and prevent fraud or corruption, and critically to take action early. In 2015, CIPFA launched an Affiliate membership for counter fraud practitioners to unite the counter fraud community, recognise the importance of the specialist and highly technical skills they have, and to provide access to resources, training and the latest information for combating and preventing fraud and corruption.
The Affiliate membership is also designed to reconcile counter fraud and finance professionals (those who are most often impacted by fraud) in order to bridge the gap between the investigative and financial arenas. Many local authorities, for example, have recently merged fraud and audit departments as well as sharing these services across boroughs. So the need for collaboration, improved communication, transparency and shared intelligence is growing. In order to help public sector organisations tackle fraud the gap between investigative and financial arenas needs to shrink. The professionalisation and formal recognition of counter fraud through CIPFA’s Affiliate membership will help to achieve this.
Professionalisation of any industry isn’t without difficulties, and some people may feel that they do not have the time or inclination to seek formal recognition through membership of a professional body. However, for counter fraud practitioners it does bring benefits such as improved status, a mechanism for evaluating and benchmarking training. Plus advantages including the maintaining of professional standards through a defined code of conduct and disciplinary process along with an improved public perception of an industry which hasn’t always been greeted with open arms.
Welcoming counter fraud professionals into the Institute is a natural extension of CIPFA’s 130 year history of championing sound financial management of public resources and good governance. In 2014 CIPFA launched the Counter Fraud Centre and today the Centre delivers accredited counter fraud qualifications, tools and guidance to those responsible for tackling fraud across the public services – including private sector organisations that deliver services to the public sector. Through Affiliate membership CIPFA remains committed to creating a counter fraud profession and to uniting the counter fraud community - giving the community a voice and creating a network within which counter fraud practitioners can perform their roles more effectively.
Affiliate members also gain an advantage from a range of benefits which have been carefully selected to support professional development of counter fraud practitioners and their teams. You can find out more about Affiliate membership and its benefits here. To qualify for Affiliate membership individuals are required to complete 120 hours of CPD activities over three years and commit to maintaining the highest professional competence and practice standards, see www.cipfa.org/conductandethics for further information.