Tim coordinated training for an NHS Trust. He was concerned that his boss was hiring a friend of his to deliver training on suspicious terms which were costing the Trust over £20,000 a year. More courses were booked than were needed and the friend was always paid when a course was cancelled. Although Tim asked his boss to get a credit note as with other training contracts, he never did. Tim also couldn’t understand why the friend was paid for training sessions delivered by NHS staff. One day when the boss was out,Tim saw the friend enter the boss’ office and leave an envelope. His suspicions aroused, Tim peeked inside and saw that it was filled with £20 notes, amounting to some £2,000. Unsure what to do, Tim called Public Concern at Work (now known as Protect). Tim said his boss had lots of influence in the Trust and he was unsure who to tell, particularly as the Trust was being restructured and none of the directors were secure in their posts. Tim also recognised that the cash in the envelope was so brazen that there could be an innocent explanation.
What we advised
We advised Tim that the options were either to go to a director of the Trust or to the NHS Counter-Fraud Unit. Either way, we advised Tim to stick to the facts and focus on specific suspect arrangements and payments. We also said he should avoid the temptation to investigate the matter himself. Tim said he felt much better and would decide what to do over the holiday he was about to take.
On his return, Tim waited a few months until he had completed two of his key projects. He then raised his concerns with a director at the Trust,who called in NHS Counter Fraud. Tim’s suspicions were right: his boss and the trainer pleaded guilty to stealing £9,000 from the NHS and each received 12 month jail terms suspended for two years.