How Institutional Betrayal Affects Agency Investigations

Posted on January10, 2018
Investigators often encounter descriptions of events that are totally at odds with each other in the course of their interviews.  In many cases, it can be chalked up to different perspectives; in some cases, it’s an attempted cover-up.  But in cases of staff abuse, it may be something else entirely. Dr. Jennifer Freyd has researched trauma and its effects on memory extensively.  It is common knowledge in the trauma therapy community that traumatic memories are often repressed as a defense…

The Value of Meeting with Agency Executives

Posted on December18, 2017
If you’ve worked in an office for more than about two weeks, you understand what a purposeless business meeting can do to an office.  If you’ve got one per week, you know how it can interrupt the flow of your work.  If you have a collection of them, you know how effectively they can drain your morale, productivity, and the will to live.  It’s that experience that has convinced many professionals to dodge meetings whenever possible. But here’s one meeting…

How to Make Performance Reviews Useful – Not Cringeworthy

Posted on November19, 2017
There are many things that make managing investigators different than other management roles.  For instance, investigators are more likely to be attentive to detail, and interested in adherence to rules, so they’re less likely to cause problems by acting cavalierly at work.  They’re also likely to believe in the mission of their organization strongly, which makes them more committed to the work they do.  But there’s one thing that’s just as true with managing investigators as with any other job…

Easing Government Hiring Challenges

Posted on October26, 2017
One of the largest problems government agencies face when hiring is the hiring process itself.  There’s plenty of complaints to go around.  It is complicated.  It takes more than six months in many cases.  The candidates forwarded by human resources departments aren’t qualified for the job, and if any are, they’ve accepted an offer elsewhere by the time you are cleared to offer them the position. Unfortunately, for most agencies there are no ways around these facts.  The government has…

What Is the Value of One Extra Complaint?

Posted on October11, 2017
According to CIGIE’s new website, the 73 Federal IG offices receive a half million complaints a year.  Through the hard work of investigators and auditors, these tips lead to a more honest and efficient government.  They also have a tangible financial benefit.  Those 500,000 complaints lead to recommendations that would save $40 billion a year if fully implemented.  They also lead to $16 billion a year in investigative recoveries.  Obviously, each complaint doesn’t lead to a financial recovery.  Some…

No Integrity = No Success

Posted on September27, 2017
As public agencies prioritize their tasks for the year, they consider several things including their major ongoing projects, their mission statements and directives from the executive bodies that oversee them.  Unless they’ve experienced a major lapse of judgement in the prior 12 months, they probably aren’t thinking “How much focus should I put on integrity this year?  How much time and money should be allocated to integrity?”   In fact, people who aren’t investigators may think the concept that integrity…

Three Things That Will Ruin Your Investigative Case Management System

Posted on September25, 2017
If your agency has ever put together a "wishlist" for a case management system, whether through an RFP process or a less formalized process, you know it can be difficult to capture all of your needs.  Unfortunately, there are some items that don’t end up in these types of documents very often, because they’re subjective – but they’re extremely important.  In fact, some of these items are more likely to impact how good of a job a case management system…

Investigators Help Citizens Through Social Media

Posted on September11, 2017
The hurricanes faced by Texas and the southeastern United States in the last couple of weeks brought to light once again the value that government can provide to its citizens via social media (especially Twitter).  Before the hurricanes hit land, updates from the National Hurricane Center staff and the National Weather Service were collectively re-tweeted hundreds of thousands of times, ensuring information about hurricane movements and dangers were being seen quickly.  After the hurricanes pass, people are being re-united with…

Engaged Employees = More Tips

Posted on August31, 2017
Gallup’s recent State of the Worker report indicates that employee engagement in the United States is the highest it’s been in years – at 33%.  Two out of three workers in the US are not engaged in the job they do or the company they work for. Why does this matter to investigative teams?  Low engagement impacts more than just employee productivity.  At best, employees who are “not engaged” are less likely to be concerned enough about their work environment…

Cyber-Intruders Make Data Security and Auditing More Important Than Ever

Posted on August26, 2017
Ransomware has been in the news lately due to a few widespread attacks.  In most cases, ransomware spreads by spam – millions of sketchy emails get sent in the hopes that a few people will follow a link that downloads malware onto a networked computer, infecting the company. Ransomware is plenty scary (and plenty expensive), but government agencies should be even more alert for a more sophisticated technique called "spear-phishing” that targets the owners of high-value data.  Since the data…