Small Tasks Add Up For Investigative Teams

Posted on July15, 2017
Investigators don’t get many opportunities to make lives easier for the agency staff they oversee.  When an opportunity does come along to do a favor without compromising oversight or independence, it’s a great way to build some goodwill.  It has the added benefit of reminding investigative staff that their skills are respected within the agency, which can improve morale.  One example of this is a request to ensure that an agency staff member who is up for promotion hasn’t demonstrated…

Employee Exit Interviews: A Great Place to Learn About Agency Problems

Posted on July09, 2017
Only half of Fortune 500 companies say their organization does a good job with the information gained through employee surveys to make positive change.  Is your agency using the employee surveys it conducts to improve the way it manages employees or produces results for taxpayers?  If not, it is missing a major opportunity for improvement.  One of the most common surveys conducted is the exit interview.  This is also one of the surveys most likely to yield major organizational challenges…

Investigators: Don’t Forget the Positive Facts!

Posted on June29, 2017
The primary goal of most agency investigators (including all Inspectors General offices) is to find and report negative activities – those contributing to fraud, waste and abuse.  That’s why investigators sometimes find themselves under fire from the agencies they oversee – their stated mandate is to ensure agencies stay on the up-and-up by reporting all of the instances when they don’t.   That doesn’t mean that investigators can’t highlight positive findings as well.  Stating an agency’s improvements or removing an…

To Keep Costs Down on RFPs, Avoid Mission Creep

Posted on June23, 2017
As investigative agencies prepare to replace aging software with new software, they are often aiming to accomplish three major goals. They want software that is faster, more stable or more compatible with other new hardware or software entering the office. They want to gain new capabilities to allow their investigators to become more efficient, and to better align the software with any changes they’ve made since they last procured software. They want to purchase software that has higher levels of…

Making the Case for New Technology

Posted on June17, 2017
Depending on where an agency sits within government, the difficulty of navigating a funding request through the procurement process ranges from moderately straightforward to extremely complex.  And while budget constraints are a major factor in procurement difficulty, they certainly aren’t the only one.  In cases where the procurement team deals with a wide range of request types, they may not understand the importance or urgency of software upgrades.  A 2016 report that some government agencies are still running Windows 3.1…

Federal IGs Increasing Scrutiny on Agency IT Systems

Posted on June11, 2017
In the last year, the federal government has faced an unprecedented number of security challenges, including theft of employee data, national security secrets, and insecure voting machines.  While Inspectors’ General offices have been pointing out these types of security threats for years, they are raising the volume in the hopes that quicker action will be taken before something catastrophic happens.    Consider these three examples in just the last month: The VA OIG told Congress that agency’s data “may not…

The Value of Employee Development

Posted on June06, 2017
If your team is overworked or facing budget shortfalls, it can be easy to push training off until a later time.  After all, a lack of training is unlikely to directly and immediately lead to a crisis.  Failure to complete cases or adequately staff your team, however, could lead to immediate consequences.  In a world of finite resources, this makes it easy to allocate training dollars elsewhere.   While the short term-effects might not be severe, however, the long-term effects…

Virginia’s IG Shows How Online Forms Can Increase Hotline Submissions

Posted on May26, 2017
One of the most impactful ways to boost the effectiveness of an investigative agency is to increase the amount of tips coming into the office.  A well-staffed agency can increase their case resolution statistics proportionally to the number of cases coming into their office.  Even if your agency isn’t able to give as much attention to every case as you’d like, an increase in hotline submissions ensures that your agency has visibility into a wider range of problems, including major…

Education Prevents Data Leakage

Posted on May21, 2017
Although investigative agencies’ primary role is to monitor behavior for impropriety and make recommendations on how to prevent it going forward, education can play a key role in preventing the bad behavior in the first place.  Not only does this save money, it also improves lives; education prevents agency employees who had no intention of hurting anyone from being punished for accidental bad behavior.   A recent article from Federal News Radio quotes Mark Kneidlinger of the Department of Homeland…

The Importance of Defined, Consistent Processes

Posted on May12, 2017
The FBI has been in the news a bit more than normal this week. The agency has had an uncomfortable year.  While some new controversies were created recently, the biggest controversies are those which are months old, and have been brought to the forefront once again by recent events.  But regardless which FBI decision people are discussing, the conversation centers on a critical question:  were standard operating processes followed? When it comes to investigative agencies, many of the benefits of…