We recently had some schools ask about our policies on bribery and corruption, and decided to update our existing Theft and Fraud Prevention policy. We've compiled content from the SchoolDocs site with other resources and renamed the topic to Prevention of Bribery, Corruption, Fraud, and Theft.
The two main ways to help prevent fraud are having the right controls in place and a culture within your school that removes the temptation to commit fraud.
The Finance and Property Management section of your SchoolDocs site includes details of the financial controls that should be in place at your school. At the last scheduled review of this section, we consulted with school financial auditors to ensure best practice and compliance.
The SchoolDocs Finance and Property Management Policy, and its supporting policies and procedures, has its scheduled review in term 1 2021. This is your chance to review your implementation of these very important policies and procedures.
When speaking with RNZ in December last year about financial controls in schools she'd analysed, Louise Mackenzie, a senior lecturer in auditing and assurance from the Eastern Institute of Technology, said “not a single school actually followed its complete internal control policy”.
CultureYour school’s culture starts at the top. The board and senior leaders can create a clean culture within the school that filters down to your staff members and community. A good way to do this is to encourage and be open to talking about fraud. You should let your staff know that you have a strong commitment to preventing and have zero tolerance for
any kind of fraud or corruption.
People are less likely to attempt fraud when your staff members know what to look for and feel comfortable speaking up about their suspicions. Staff members will likely only come forward if they feel that the school leaders are open to talking about fraud and corruption, and take it seriously.
Influences and red flags
Knowledge is key to preventing fraud and corruption at your school. There are three general influences that may signify fraud and corruption.
- Motivation – There may be pressures to commit fraud such as blackmail or personal financial trouble.
- Opportunity – Lax use of financial controls might lead to situations where fraud is easier to commit, such as a staff member approving their own travel costs.
- Frame of mind – People can find ways to justify committing fraud such as saying “anyone in the same position would do it” or “the chance was there so I took it”.
International Fraud Awareness week starts on the 15th of November. The website has a number of resources, including an infographic on behavioural red flags. The biggest warning sign is someone living beyond their means. The website has a nice collection of information, tips, and guides about preventing and identifying fraud.
Written by Chris Boyce