FRAUD IN A CHARITY

THE STORY

Maz was a manager for a large company that serviced equipment in the homes of a national charity. On return from holiday, her team told Maz that her boss had showed them how to fiddle the billing system so the charity would be charged for twice as much work as had actually been performed. Maz’s team thought that this was wrong. Maz called Public Concern at Work (PCaW) for advice. She said doing nothing was not an option, but she had no idea who to talk to or what to say and was worried about going above her boss with whom she worked well.

WHAT WE ADVISED

We advised Maz that she was just passing on the concern of her team. We checked with her whether the company had a whistleblowing policy. Because her staff had told her their concern, Maz was expected to follow it up and, as it involved her boss, we suggested she go to the Operations Manager (OM) who was the senior contact on the whistleblowing policy. As Maz was worried that her boss might find out, we told her that she could tell him what she was doing. The OM made clear this behaviour was unacceptable and assured Maz that she and her team would not be at risk. After an investigation the OM accepted the boss’s assurance that he had been in error and asked Maz if she could rebuild a good relationship with him. Maz thought she could, but asked us first as she said her staff would expect some sanction on her boss. We checked Maz had no suspicion such a fraud was taking place, and explained that she and her team had put down a strong marker.

WHAT HAPPENED

Months later Maz rang to say she had rebuilt a good relationship with her boss, her team was going well and there was no suggestion of any scams. She said this was all a direct result of the advice she’d received from PCaW.