It’s no secret that when I left the Met I went to work for the Metropolitan Police Authority as a Forensic Auditor.
I confess that I did have to ask te question at my interview “What is a Forensic Auditor and what do they do?” as I have never heard of that job before, one of my colleagues had pointed out the vacancy, knew I was retiring and thought that it would be perfect for me. How right they were, I got the job and had a great time, with the sole exception of the political machinations of working for a Police Authority, although I did get my own back, but I digress.
Well the answer to the question is that a Forensic Auditor is NOT a Bean Counter but more like a civilian investigator with no power of arrest etc. In all the time I was there I never had to count beans, paper clips, biros or anything. There were 9 of us in my office, 3 teams of 3, and 6 out of the 9 were retired Police Officers with a variety of skills and backgrounds.
I completely agree and accept that an office of 9 investigators was a luxury and that were lucky, but the unspoken story behind the headlines was that every year our Director had to give a report to the Authority justifying our continued existence, and every year we had either saved, or recovered in civil/criminal court proceedings more than the sum total of employing us.
The point that I am getting round to is this;
That’s a hell of a lot of money and it’s not for me to say whether that is an accurate figure or not, but as with everything else #CutsHaveConsequences. The Metropolitan Police Authority disappeared, MOPAC took over and my old office was reduced from 9 to 2 or possibly three, with the rider that they would outsource any big jobs to companies such as PwC, and they don’t come cheap.
I know for a fact that the NHS did have SOME Counter-Fraud Operatives, but not many considering the size of the organisation. I don’t know how many have survived the cuts, maybe someone could enlighten me.
If the public services such as MOPAC, NHS etc etc took off their blinkers and realised that by employing these people they would actually SAVE money there would be more money for front line activities.
Don’t be fooled, Fraud exists within the Police Service, within the NHS, within the MOD and almost certainly everywhere else, but it is not the employees (in the main) that are committing the fraud, the biggest chunk is committed by the suppliers, and our government want to outsource procurement? The problem would only get bigger.
I’m not looking for work or a consultancy, I just want our public funds to be well administered and well spent, and sometimes you need to spend money to save it. I think that we owe it to our public to employ t he means by which we can protect our valuable assets, mainly cash, from the unscrupulous and criminal-minded people seeking to rip us off.
The Home Office advocates Crime Prevention after all, this is just professional Crime Prevention, putting systems in place to prevent fraud and to aggressively pursue those that would defraud the public purse. Going back many years it was well known in the trade that if you submitted an invoice to the Met they would just pay it, guess what happened next.
It’s not a difficult job to do, you don’t have to be a retired Police Officer, training is available to the required standard with a proper sistificate at the end of it, but job opportunities are dwindling thanks to short-sighted senior management.
Be bold, recruit some Forensic Auditors and save some money, there’s today’s challenge for you.