Communicate identified fraud incidents
Fraud will almost certainly occur against any Commonwealth entity no matter how strong your countermeasures are. While it may feel uncomfortable communicating that fraud has occurred against your entity, you should not feel you have failed when fraud is detected. Communicating fraud incidents shows that your fraud control system is working and it can be a powerful tool for preventing future fraud.
The benefits of communicating and reporting identified fraud
Communicating fraud incidents can have the following benefits:
- It can deter others from committing similar fraud by:
- increasing the perceived risk of committing fraud (for example, the likelihood of getting caught)
- reducing the perceived benefit of engaging in fraud (is it worth the potential consequences?)
- influencing the emotions of those who might consider engaging in fraud (for example, fear, guilt or empathy), and minimising their ability to rationalise fraudulent behaviour.
- It demonstrates your entity is committed to an ethical culture and is serious about protecting the integrity of government programs.
- It can maintain public confidence in the integrity of government programs and the use of public money.
- It can encourage reporting about similar fraud that is occurring. The 2018 South Australian ICAC Office of Public Integrity Survey found individuals are more likely to report fraud if they are confident action will be taken.
- It can encourage more awareness and investment in counter fraud activities.
- It can be done consistently with privacy and security requirements.
The Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions also acknowledges that publicising prosecutions can have a deterrent effect (see Prosecution Policy, Section 6.12(f)).
Develop a communication strategy
A communication strategy can help you plan how and when to communicate different types of fraud incidents. This can also help you to target information to the relevant audience.
Contact us if you would like support to develop a fraud deterrence strategy.