Updated: Aug 22, 2021
At no time has education been more important to organisation development and the ability to identify and prevent corruption. One thing that recent global events have taught us, is that global lockdown and manipulation and abuse of national procurement systems is to be expected and that we must prepare for such events happening again.
Peoples participation is the essence of good governance
How have you felt during the past 18 months, for me, it has been interesting to watch and get involved in the discussions that have unfolded around education and organisation decision making throughout the COVID-19 response and recovery.
There are many global examples of how individuals within Government, Public Sector leaders, suppliers, and individuals within procuring organisations have used the opportunity to manipulate procurement systems under the umbrella of national health urgency.
However, on the positive side, the anti-corruption message remains strong and has been rejuvenated by President Biden reestablishing the USA's part in the fight against corruption.
A NEW PATH
It has been an invaluable period of learning and discovery, that due to the restrictions on being able to meet and discuss global issues face to face, individuals have been forced to be more creative and communicate and coordinate via the various social media and webinar routes and in fact, has created an awakening that this method of education and awareness should be the new norm and that maximising the opportunity for learning in various subjects should be easily accessible.
From watching global discussions by the World Economic Forum through to awareness training on risk from organisations in Canada, UK and the USA to discussing national strategy in Nigeria and developing risk and education solutions with organisations in South Africa, UK and the USA, it is clear that the value and impact of technology within global virtual education and the opportunity for change couldn’t be more important.
As part of our training courses we discuss procurement risk within disaster management, we previously reported on the potential impact through organised and opportunistic criminals early on in the onset of COVID-19, I outlined some of the criminal typologies where such major events and disasters were impacted by fraud and corruption. In addition to these illicit methods, global reporting by the press and national and international organisations such as Europol, Interpol and the Federal Bureau of Investigation has meant that many governments have been able to respond to fraud risk more effectively.
One of the lessons organisations have learned or will have to face once they emerge from lock down is their ability to understand the maturity of its business continuity planning and the performance of its compliance programs. Our inability to measure the financial impact in organisation response and adaptability, what were the losses due to criminality from internal and external threats. Do we have the ability to measure our response performance or the capacity to protect organisation assets and revenues during such events?
EDUCATION AND ASSURANCE
At the core of future response to a significant national or global event, three areas need to be introduced into the discussion and planning:
Risk identification and prevention of future corruption
introducing new and creative solutions for training
Knowledge sharing and lessons learned within risk assurance will support organisation and national planning and response to future events.
THE GROWTH OF ORGANISED CRIME WITHIN PUBLIC PROCUREMENT
Organised crime groups have been both organised and opportunistic, using both the situation of fear from the public and their search for medical solutions and the urgency and unavailability of healthcare products and personal protective equipment. They very quickly diversified into online sales for counterfeit, substandard, and falsified pharmaceuticals and medical products. In such circumstances, the use of corruption to facilitate their illicit business model wasn't necessary where there is a global scramble to procure the limited quantity of PPE on the global market and due to the urgency, reduced governance, obfuscation of supply chains, and quality of products, the risk that organised crime is suddenly being funded by the healthcare system is more than likely.
As COVID-19 impacted the majority of organisations globally, a maturity assessment and gap analysis should be conducted to measure performance and organisations ability to respond to future incidents, specifically, where we are now and where we need to get to ensure that future impact is identified or mitigated. Areas to consider should include:
Assessing the aggregated and transparent maturity level
Illustrating the difference in perception of maturity at various employee levels (leadership versus those executing the activities and policies at the coal face)
Gaps in knowledge and understanding
Gaps in skills and abilities
Assessing maturity from different viewpoints based on the roles of those completing them
As part of an assurance program gaps in knowledge and training should be assessed, specifically, what do we need to acquire or build to ensure that a workforce is able and has the flexibility to respond to the next incident or major event with reduced impact to the organisation? Areas of initial assessment should include:
IT Risk and Governance
Enterprise Governance, Risk and Compliance
Occupational health and safety
At no time has education been more important to organisation development and ability to sustain future disasters. One thing that COVID-19 has taught us, is that this risk is now part of our global society and that such events will happen again.
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