'SFO Confidential' - combatting corruption on a shoestring
In a resourceful move by Richard Alderman, the SFO last week revealed a new service it hopes will help to identify fraud and bribery in the City.
A confidential online and telephone whistleblowing facility will enable City workers to notify the SFO of any activity that they think may be suspicious. The SFO hopes that the confidential nature of the service will encourage people to come forward.
With a specialist team set up to 'man the phones', the line is anticipated to cut the time and costs of the early stages of an investigation, in an environment of stretched resources. Large scale fraud investigations are both time consuming and costly and are not always successful.
But whilst whistleblowing can sometimes secure vital and specific early information, there is of course a risk that the facility will be abused. Disgruntled employees may use the service to cause difficulties for their employers, past or present, with no accountability. With its limited resources, the SFO will need to sift out the false allegations from the tip offs worth pursuing.