Guerrilla Working and avoiding fraud


cropped-chephil-redI have been getting a fair bit of traction with Guerrilla Working over the last few weeks, even though it is several years since I wrote the book. Perhaps it was a bit ahead of its time or the things I cover in its pages are becoming more relevant. Who knows?

My thoughts turned to the subject again at the latest North East Fraud Forum event. The subject was understanding the threats and focused very much on the problems that arise from people within your organisation.

As an aside it was the first time that I had been in the chamber at Gateshead Council, another one to tick of my bucket list. South Tyneside is the only one of my seven local authorities left for me to visit.

Among other presentations, Andy King, DS Cleveland Police, gave us some insights into insider fraud. He gave us examples of how people in trusted positions had defrauded their organisations of hundreds of thousands of pounds. Fraud covers all aspects of life including the public, private and third sectors. The effect of their actions were devastating to the organizations they were representing, sometimes to the point of causing permanent damage.

In all these cases there were a few common indicators to mark them out, though some were senior employees and some junior. They all involved manipulating financial transactions to their advantage. What was clear though was that those who committed the fraud had had the time and freedom to build up a system around them. They had created a bubble which nobody was aware of. They were left in isolation, free to plot and scheme. They picked on weaknesses in the systems.

Guerrilla Working could have helped. Having people from all parts of the organisation working together, in different teams and different configurations would have made it much harder for the fraudster’s practices to have developed. Different perspectives would have lead to questions. Relationships would have been developed that would have highlighted outlying behaviours.

I might be stretching a point yet the best way to find out what your colleagues are up to is to spend time with them rather than hide away in your usual corner. This is not a one off task but rather something that needs to be a part of your everyday approach. Fraud can happen when parts of an organisation are able to develop their own culture and systems.

Be a Guerrilla Worker.

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