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Awarding innovation at the Government Counter Fraud Awards

Complex cases involving multiple agency collaboration require innovative ideas and new ways of working to be successful. The judges for the Government Counter Fraud Awards for 2016 were impressed by the approach taken by Operation Cheesy, a collaboration between the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), Liverpool City Council and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Christopher Lee, FES Local Service Team Leader, DWP Counter Fraud and Compliance Directorate, explains: “Operation Cheesy was a challenging case and the scale of the fraud was significant. With a successful outcome and a unique approach to working with multiple agencies, we felt we had a strong entry for the 2016 Awards.”

The remarkable investigation took over four years and elements of the case are today still being processed through the courts. Chris Lee adds: “We entered the Awards as we wanted to gain national recognition for the case and the work being undertaken in Liverpool and Merseyside. We wanted to raise our profile amongst our peers and industry leaders.”

Invest time

As an intricate case, Operation Cheesy involved multiple parties. Chris and his team spent time on their award entry as they wanted to clearly convey the amount of work, co-ordination and innovation that went into case.

“My recommendation to people considering entering the Awards for 2017 is to invest the time on their award entry”, said Chris.

He adds: “It’s easy to rush these things but addressing the award criteria and aligning your entry is important. The time invested is worthwhile. Don’t leave it to the last minute as you will need to gather information and supporting collateral to accompany your award entry.”

Operation Cheesy won the Outstanding Recovery Solution award and for 2017 this has been renamed. The award category is now called ‘Innovative Approach to Sanctions and Redress’. This reflects the need for innovation in countering fraud highlighted by Operation Cheesy.

Moving from strength to strength

Winning the award was an important moment for Chris and his team. Like many of the Awards winners they were surprised and delighted to win. “The award is proudly on display in our office along with photographs from the night. Since winning the award we have had many people comment on the success of our team and the work that we do.

“We have also used the approach we trialled with Operation Cheesy with other cases. The Memorandum of Understanding used between the different agencies during Operation Cheesy is proving to a be successful tool for fraud recovery.

“Also, our success has been shared higher-up in our organisation and with the collaborating agencies. Winning the award has brought kudos and greater awareness of our team, the multiple agencies involved and the work that we do.”

A great experience

The Awards night provides a backdrop for celebrations, networking and acknowledgement of excellence in counter fraud. “It was an outstanding experience,” said Chris, “and winning was the icing on the cake. We also had time to network with other counter fraud specialists and industry leaders. Sharing the experience with our team and peers was a highlight.

“If you are thinking about entering the Government Counter Fraud Awards I would encourage you to do so and to invest the time needed to create a winning entry. We’re currently prepping another entry for this year’s awards!”

You can read all about Operation Cheesy’s winning entry on the Awards website.

Your chance to shine

Have you developed a new approach to sanctions and redress or know of one that deserves recognition? The award for Innovative Approach to Sanctions and Redress recognises an individual or team who has shown exceptional creativity and originality in developing a new approach to sanctions or redress applicable to criminal, civil or regulatory regimes.

Nominees will be judged on:

  • innovative approach demonstrated in the solution/policy change
  • the potential for other organisations to adopt a similar approach
  • the impact of the new approach on the organisation (financial or other).

New award categories for 2017

Unveiled this year are three new awards including:

  • Outstanding Proactive Detection
  • Government Counter Fraud Team of the Year
  • Government Counter Fraud Professional of the Year.

For details on all the award categories and to enter the 2017 Government Counter Fraud Awards visit the About the Awards page.

The deadline for entries is 10 August 2017.

Recognising excellence in counter fraud