Procurement Risk During Disaster Recovery: Is the New Currency Education and Assurance

Updated: Jul 31

At no time has education been more important to organisation development and ability to sustain future disasters. One thing that the events of COVID-19 has taught us, is that this risk is now part of our DNA and that we must prepare for such events happening again.

Peoples participation is the essence of good governance


How have you felt during current events, for me it has been interesting to watch and get involved in the discussions that have unfolded around education and organisation response throughout the COVID-19 response and recovery.


Training has halted and organisations and individuals have looked to use this opportunity to develop their knowledge and business through online solutions, continuing their lifelong learning as part of the global self-isolation and a realisation from many individuals and organisations, that there is a greater need for flexibility and access to education from online sources that includes eLearning, webinars and online expert discussions around key global issues that historically hasn’t been done.


THE NEW NORM

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 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 education and the opportunity for change couldn’t be more important.


HISTORY REPEATED

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 a future response to a significant national or global event, three areas need to introduced into the discussion and planning:

  • introducing learning from current events

  • introducing new and creative solutions for training

  • Knowledge sharing and lessons learned within risk assurance that 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.


NATIONAL ASSURANCE

As COVID-19 impacted the majority of organisations globally, a maturity assessment and a gap analysis should be conducted to measure performance and and organisations ability to respond to future incidents, specifically where we are now and where we need to get to to ensure that future impact is reduced or mitigated. Areas to consider should include:

  • Assessing the aggregated and transparent maturity level

  • Illustrating the difference in perception of maturity at different employee levels (leadership versus those executing the activities and policies at the coal face)

  • Gaps in knowledge and understanding

  • Gaps in skills and understanding

  • Assessing maturity from different viewpoints based on the roles of those completing them

EXPORTING EDUCATION

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

  • Information security

  • Information privacy

  • Enterprise Governance, Risk and Compliance

  • Director duties

  • 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 DNA and that such events will happen again.

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