This is an example, completely fictional, designed to illustrate how a case can be made and supported.
This category recognises those who, through economic crime expertise, business acumen and innovative leadership approaches, have led operations tackling economic crime with distinction. Outstanding performers will be leaders and innovators who are setting examples that others wish to follow.
The Judges will be looking for evidence of outstanding performance in:
- Discussing the ways in which the role has driven performance
- Highlighting the factors that enable the manager/director to excel
- Identifying the ways in which the role has influenced wider business operations
- Providing examples of building effective relationships with key stakeholders
- Demonstrating the improvements made to people and/or process and system
1. Describe the role of the manager/Director and the ways in which he/she has led change in the organisation including security impacts of any partnership approaches adopted with different stakeholders.
Helen Jones is the Director responsible for protecting the organisation against all aspects of economic crime. Before her arrival we had suffered two high profile economic crime incidents. We were investigated and the subsequent report from the regulator described our structure as ‘not fit for purpose’ and out strategy as ‘amateurish’, a police report suggested we were ‘clearly culpable’. We are vulnerable, we operate in areas that score in the bottom 15% of the Transparency International Corruption Index. Unsurprisingly the Board took the view we needed a new approach and it was in this context Helen Jones was appointed.
Her first task was to develop an appropriate strategy. This involved a wide-ranging review which included interviews with the heads of all the operational units. Many had never seriously thought about their own role in preventing economic crime seeing it as someone else’s role. She researched each individual, what role they undertook, what their priorities were, and how these could be framed to include an element of economic crime prevention. She set out to understand the main barriers each of our operational heads faced in achieving their objectives and found that often in helping to overcome those barriers they were also helping to tackle economic crime.
For example, the marketing department had not realised the distinct commercial advantage Helen’s work presented. Up until then they refrained from mentioning economic crime fearing it was an ‘unqualified negative’. Joan Adams, the head of the department said, ‘Helen has changed our focus, we now present our approach up front as a benefit. We have won three contracts because of it worth over £1 million’.
Human Resources had not systematically defined the key roles in the organisation that were vulnerable to financial crime, namely to being approached and exploited by offenders, or to facilitating offences through carelessness or more often ignorance. Helen has led a major awareness raising campaign aimed at staff at all levels, but also our partners and clients. This was a major step for us; having been publicly ridiculed previously and now talking openly about financial crime. This initiative won an internal merit award from our Chairman. Two of our major clients, one of whom had warned us after we were criticised by our regulator, wrote to the Chief Executive to praise Helen for her work. He said this is the first time this has ever happened.
Crucial to generating a different view of economic crime Helen has overseen the development of a new Vision and Mission. What sets this apart from anything we have had before is that they’re framed in relation to the broader business strategy (‘helping the company to make a profit’ rather than ‘investigating offences more effectively’). Five key objectives are all measured – independently by Compliance – and all have been achieved. The Compliance Director commented at the senior management congress that what he found especially impressive is that the objectives were not just new, they were ‘challenging and ambitious and they were achieved easily’.
2. Provide details of the value added by the manager/director and his/her impact on the work of the department highlighting the specific leadership qualities that generated any benefits noted.
A staff survey conducted by the company Internal Communication Department (completely independent of economic crime) last year found that 52% of staff were at serious risk of falling victim to some aspect of economic crime, and 32% felt that aspects of the work they did was risky. By this year the figures were 12% and 4%. What is perhaps more important is that the CEO has decided to make the economic crime unit a formal department, previously it had a subsidiary status, and now it sits at the management board level and Helen has equivalent status to all other departmental heads.
A very recent independent audit led by the former Director of the regulator noted the ‘significant reduction in risks’ and ‘notable and positive cultural change’ brought about by Helen’s work. We were complimented for our ‘determined commitment to reducing risk by proactive staff engagement’. Helen was referred to by name for her ‘frontline strategic vison and leadership’.
There are other headline statistics that point to Helen’s success. There is always a problem in presenting meaningful statistics on any area of crime, but we consider it significant that staff felt comfortable in reporting more risks in their area of work (from 234 last year to 621 this year (following a specific initiative lead by Helen to achieve this).
In a different way there had only ever been one staff meeting before, and now they are held monthly, and all other departments were asked if they would be prepared to receive a visit from a member of the economic crime department bi-monthly and all agreed, and four of the 7 have asked for this to be increased to monthly because of the value Helen’s newly oriented staff offered.
Helen has undertaken a MBA and her dissertation focussed on the ways in way economic crime specialists can influence business operations to better achieve corporate objectives. It received a distinction and provided a foundation for the strategy she pursued with us. All her staff have undergone a training course that she has helped develop and all are members of an association or group to enhance their professional development. There is no doubt this has been appreciated by the business and influenced other directors to support their staff similarly. Like all good Directors she has been keen to pay tribute to her team that has worked hard in support. She has been described by colleagues on the third anniversary of her appointment in these terms:
An outstanding professional who has enabled this organisation to be more economically crime conscious and more profitable at the same time.
-Georgia Benson, Head of Finance
An economic crime Director who can speak the language of business; a rare breed indeed.
-Sarah Jones, Head of Human Resources
The first economic crime expert I have ever thought could one day be a CEO.
-John Smith, CEO