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…

IG Reviews of DATA Act Compliance

Posted on May05, 2017
In 2014, the DATA Act was passed, providing far easier access for citizens and journalists alike to examine government spending, and reducing the effort required for Inspectors General offices to deploy anti-fraud analytics software. The DATA act has two major deadlines: May 9th (of 2017) marks the date that most agencies are required to report standardized spending data to the Treasury Department, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), and the General Services Administration.  One year from that date, The…

Three Ways to Encourage Ethical Behavior in Any Organization

Posted on April24, 2017
While investigations and audits play an important role in preventing wrongdoing in an agency, the best way to ensure ethical behavior is to promote it and to build a culture around it.  Research from the Ethics and Compliance Initiative, for instance, shows that employees at large companies with effective ethics programs are only half as likely to observe misconduct when compared with employees at companies without ethics programs. With this in mind, here are three things organizations can do to…

Recent Fraud Exposes Lack of Public’s Understanding of IG Offices

Posted on April18, 2017
Recently, there have been reports of a recorded message scam where someone poses as a representative of the Social Security Inspector General's office and warns that benefits have been suspended.  People who call the scammer back are told there is a warrant for their arrest and they should pay money to get it removed. As disgusting as it may be to prey on the elderly in this way, it’s also a reminder of how many people don’t understand the role…

Providing Confidence to Whistleblowers

Posted on April12, 2017
Whistleblowers are protected by dozens of federal whistleblower laws, and most states have whistleblower protection laws, too.  Yet 20% of federal employees believe they’ll face reprisal for reporting wrongdoing.  What can your office do to assure employees they’ll be safe if they report wrongdoing to you? Communicate informant protections – People submitting complaints are protected by various laws, depending on the agency receiving the complaint.  Communicate, in plain English, the laws protecting whistleblowers and the specific situations where their identity…

Boosting the Productivity of Your Traveling Investigators

Posted on April05, 2017
If your office has field investigators, you’ve likely run into technical challenges that stifle productivity.  Most offices have technology that’s designed to work well in the office – how well it works outside of the office varies dramatically from office to office.  Here are a few things you can do to make sure your traveling investigators aren’t being held back by technology. Provide plenty of cellular data on a strong network – Wireless networks seem ubiquitous, but they aren’t.  Investigators…

Training the New Generation of Investigators

Posted on March31, 2017
The following is a guest post from Mark Anderson, Director of Training and Development with Anderson Investigative Associates.  AIA specializes in customized training for audit, evaluation, inspection, investigation and human resources professionals. Mark is a retired Special Agent with the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General (DOJ/OIG) who served as a Program Manager and Instructor at the Inspector General Criminal Investigator Academy (IGCIA) at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC) in…

Does Your Investigative Team Qualify as a “High Morale Team?”

Posted on March23, 2017
When your office is charged with investigating the agency you are a part of, you are at best looked at warily by the rest of the agency you oversee.  This can make positive employee morale especially challenging in investigative offices.  In order to keep staff morale high, the investigative team must focus on it even more extensively than most other agency groups.  Here are five tips to accomplish just that. Don’t Allow Toxic Personalities in Your Office. People who are…

Vacant Positions, Hiring Freeze Holding Federal IGs Back

Posted on March17, 2017
Any presidential transition causes disruption to the government, as new presidents have to appoint literally thousands of new executives across the entire range of federal agencies.  But with the pace of appointments running behind other transitions, and with so many major initiatives being pursued early in the presidency, the current slowdown is more pronounced than usual. Beyond the transition, however, there are two other major factors which are holding federal IGs back from being as effective as they could be.…