Hamilton to spend $30,000 annually for a fraud hotline

News Jun 25, 2018 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton will create a new fraud and waste hotline, for a three-year pilot project, at a cost of about $30,000 annually.

Councillors agreed to the recommendation at their audit, finance and administrative committee June 25. The hotline will be operated by a third-party agency 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will cost about $4,500 to set up the program.

Charles Brown, the city’s auditor, proposed the idea in an effort to enable the public to provide tips to staff about potential waste within the municipality.

“There can be pretty valuable information,” he said.

Ward 5 Coun. Chad Collins had initially raised the idea to create a fraud hotline about a decade ago, but the proposal went nowhere. In 2003, the city did approve a fraud policy and protocol to protect Hamilton’s assets from being misappropriated.

The city also has a whistleblower bylaw, approved in 2009, which encourages staff to report on “serious wrongdoing” within the city. So far, 28 disclosures have been reported to the city’s audit services.

Other municipalities, such as Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Sudbury, Edmonton and Windsor, have established fraud and waste hotlines that have become integral to their auditing investigations.

City staff stated that a hotline provides an “efficient and effective overall approach” for people to leave tips on possible fraud activities.

Councillors will vote on the recommendation at their June 27 meeting.

The City of Toronto’s fraud and waste hotline, established in 2002, found employees faking sick days and using equipment to post inappropriate videos online. By 2011, the city had received 4,200 complaints.

In 2013-14, Ottawa, which installed a hotline in 2005, fired 16 employees for offences ranging from lying about sick days to stealing money from co-workers to using facilities after hours — information provided to the city from public tips.

Brown said a hotline would be good to have to help identify possible wrongdoing. He acknowledged people may provide a number of complaints that don’t identify fraud. But city staff will see some helpful tips provided among the many complaints that they expect to receive, he said.

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson encouraged staff to identify if the program will save taxpayers’ money. Brown said a report will be provided to councillors after the three-year program is finished.

“I will support this (but) I want it quantified to see if we are getting paid back,” said Ferguson.

Hamilton to launch fraud and waste hotline this year

"There can be pretty valuable information," said Hamilton's director of audit services Charles Brown.

News Jun 25, 2018 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton will create a new fraud and waste hotline, for a three-year pilot project, at a cost of about $30,000 annually.

Councillors agreed to the recommendation at their audit, finance and administrative committee June 25. The hotline will be operated by a third-party agency 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will cost about $4,500 to set up the program.

Charles Brown, the city’s auditor, proposed the idea in an effort to enable the public to provide tips to staff about potential waste within the municipality.

“There can be pretty valuable information,” he said.

Ward 5 Coun. Chad Collins had initially raised the idea to create a fraud hotline about a decade ago, but the proposal went nowhere. In 2003, the city did approve a fraud policy and protocol to protect Hamilton’s assets from being misappropriated.

The city also has a whistleblower bylaw, approved in 2009, which encourages staff to report on “serious wrongdoing” within the city. So far, 28 disclosures have been reported to the city’s audit services.

Other municipalities, such as Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Sudbury, Edmonton and Windsor, have established fraud and waste hotlines that have become integral to their auditing investigations.

City staff stated that a hotline provides an “efficient and effective overall approach” for people to leave tips on possible fraud activities.

Councillors will vote on the recommendation at their June 27 meeting.

The City of Toronto’s fraud and waste hotline, established in 2002, found employees faking sick days and using equipment to post inappropriate videos online. By 2011, the city had received 4,200 complaints.

In 2013-14, Ottawa, which installed a hotline in 2005, fired 16 employees for offences ranging from lying about sick days to stealing money from co-workers to using facilities after hours — information provided to the city from public tips.

Brown said a hotline would be good to have to help identify possible wrongdoing. He acknowledged people may provide a number of complaints that don’t identify fraud. But city staff will see some helpful tips provided among the many complaints that they expect to receive, he said.

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson encouraged staff to identify if the program will save taxpayers’ money. Brown said a report will be provided to councillors after the three-year program is finished.

“I will support this (but) I want it quantified to see if we are getting paid back,” said Ferguson.

Hamilton to launch fraud and waste hotline this year

"There can be pretty valuable information," said Hamilton's director of audit services Charles Brown.

News Jun 25, 2018 by Kevin Werner Stoney Creek News

Hamilton will create a new fraud and waste hotline, for a three-year pilot project, at a cost of about $30,000 annually.

Councillors agreed to the recommendation at their audit, finance and administrative committee June 25. The hotline will be operated by a third-party agency 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It will cost about $4,500 to set up the program.

Charles Brown, the city’s auditor, proposed the idea in an effort to enable the public to provide tips to staff about potential waste within the municipality.

“There can be pretty valuable information,” he said.

Ward 5 Coun. Chad Collins had initially raised the idea to create a fraud hotline about a decade ago, but the proposal went nowhere. In 2003, the city did approve a fraud policy and protocol to protect Hamilton’s assets from being misappropriated.

The city also has a whistleblower bylaw, approved in 2009, which encourages staff to report on “serious wrongdoing” within the city. So far, 28 disclosures have been reported to the city’s audit services.

Other municipalities, such as Toronto, Calgary, Ottawa, Sudbury, Edmonton and Windsor, have established fraud and waste hotlines that have become integral to their auditing investigations.

City staff stated that a hotline provides an “efficient and effective overall approach” for people to leave tips on possible fraud activities.

Councillors will vote on the recommendation at their June 27 meeting.

The City of Toronto’s fraud and waste hotline, established in 2002, found employees faking sick days and using equipment to post inappropriate videos online. By 2011, the city had received 4,200 complaints.

In 2013-14, Ottawa, which installed a hotline in 2005, fired 16 employees for offences ranging from lying about sick days to stealing money from co-workers to using facilities after hours — information provided to the city from public tips.

Brown said a hotline would be good to have to help identify possible wrongdoing. He acknowledged people may provide a number of complaints that don’t identify fraud. But city staff will see some helpful tips provided among the many complaints that they expect to receive, he said.

Ancaster Coun. Lloyd Ferguson encouraged staff to identify if the program will save taxpayers’ money. Brown said a report will be provided to councillors after the three-year program is finished.

“I will support this (but) I want it quantified to see if we are getting paid back,” said Ferguson.