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…

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…