Federal, state and local agencies will be working harder to fight fraud now that “Program Integrity: The Antifraud Playbook,” a program developed by the Bureau of the Fiscal Service and the Chief Financial Officers Council, has been released. The playbook is meant to help agencies meet the requirements of the Fraud Reduction and Data Analytics Act of 2015 and OMB Circular A-123 — to reduce money lost to the government through improper payment. It’s also part of the “Getting Payments Right” goal of the president’s management agenda.
“One of the things that [the Government Accountability Office] said that was quite telling was basically two words: do something,” a Fiscal Service spokesperson told the Federal Times. “GAO wasn’t looking for people to put in elaborate fraud data analytics tools on day one, they just wanted to see an agency do something to start out on their effort for preventing and detecting fraud.”
The playbook doesn’t necessarily contain any new information, according to the spokesperson, but is rather a collection of past recommendations reorganized into a single, straightforward plan.
That plan is set up with four phases:
- Creating an antifraud culture, evaluating fraud exposure, setting goals and setting up an antifraud team
- Identifying and assessing fraud risks by thinking like a fraudster and discovering what you don’t know
- Preventing and detecting fraud through quick wins, training, sharing and feedback
- Turning insight into action by taking action and sharing your progress
The idea is for each agency to build a plan from whatever stage they are at right now. Ultimately, the playbook is meant to promote a continuous cycle of antifraud actions.
The playbook also provides an opportunity to improve the whole system. For one thing, there’s a link on the first page of the document inviting agencies to make recommendations for improvement, and the Fiscal Service is already receiving suggestions. The agency also plans to meet with other agencies after rollout to discuss what works and what needs additional thought.
This new antifraud initiative may roll out in an entirely positive way. However, antifraud programs sometimes result in federal employees being targeted, either by accusing them of fraud or by faulting them for failing to prevent fraud. If you feel you are being targeted, you have rights. Contact an employment law attorney familiar with the federal workforce.