INTERVIEW WITH IAN FOXLEY
Chairman of Whistleblowers UK and keynote speaker at the 2013 ACFE European Fraud Conference, 17-19 March in Prague
According to the ACFE’s Report to the Nations, more frauds are detected by tips than by any other method. What role do anti-fraud professionals play in ensuring tips are welcomed, encouraged and not punished?
Tips are only worthwhile if they are valid, verifiable and justified. Sources of tips should be aware that they may remain anonymous, but if they are to believed then the tip off cannot stand in isolation but must be provable – one way or another. Anti-fraud professionals have a role in ensuring that tips are valid and verifiable and sort out those that are worthy of note from those that aren’t. That way when a true tip is offered, the recipient, be it a company, organization, manager, director or compliance officer, knows that it is a worthwhile piece of information that is worth investigating.
How have you seen the role of the whistleblower change over the past few years? Do you think this role will change in the future and become more accepted and praised?
The role of the whistleblower hasn’t changed – it still remains as a source of information that exposes wrongdoing in the face of resistance by those who should have dealt with the information properly.
There have been those who have tried to use whistleblowing to propagate personal aims or settle debts, and they do real whistleblowers a great disservice. But there remains a fundamental corporate distrust of whistleblowers that needs to be actively overcome. Whistleblowing needs to be recognized as a courageous and heroic act, not one born of disloyalty and self-interest. Whistleblowing is not the act of a “sneak.” It is the act of an honest broker who has tried to expose the wrongdoing and found only resistance, coercion and aggression.
Reward is the wrong word to use – it offers the opportunity for detractors to profess that whistleblowers are merely “in it for the money.” But we do need to find a way to compensate whistleblowers for the stress, discomfort, family pain, financial loss, career stoppage and sheer hell of what we go through.
What do you most hope attendees will take away from your address?
An understanding of what makes a whistleblower tick and what they can do to help future whistlebowers.
Read more about Foxley and the other keynote speakers at this year’s ACFE European Fraud Conference. And don't forget, the last day to register early and save EUR 125 is this Friday, 15 February.