Prevention Is Better Than Cure

TNT, a leading global express and mail business has taken a lead within the field of preventing fraud and corruption. Their Global Security and Compliance function have provided and conducted professional investigations of incidents concerning suspected fraud and corruption. Global Security and Compliance have also embedded procedures, which have been in place for some time now, for dealing with whistleblowers. A great deal of effort has been placed on developing proactive anti-fraud and corruption measures as a way of improving integrity for all stakeholders. TNT carries out “health checks” of its business units aimed at identifying, analysing and dealing with the “red flags” of fraud and corruption.

In parallel with these efforts, the TNT Integrity Programme was developed by TNT Group Integrity in conjunction with other key departments including Global Security and Compliance and Corporate Audit. The Integrity Programme provides anti-fraud and corruption training for employees. “Prevention is better than cure,” says Simon Scales, TNT’s Deputy Director of Global Security and Compliance Manager, “and it’s about doing the right things as well as doing things right.”

Ten years ago, it would have been unthinkable for a top manager of a major international organisation to openly include the fight against corruption in his agenda. Today, things are different. It is now widely agreed that corruption hampers economic growth, discourages public and private investment and increases poverty. The former president of the World Bank, James Wolfenson, advised the international community to “deal with the cancer of corruption, because it is a major barrier to sustainable and equitable development.”

Having signed UN’s Global Compact, TNT included the 10th principle on anti-corruption in its corporate business principles. However, TNT has taken this work further than most other companies.

The company has invested heavily in their security frameworks globally, demonstrating a worldwide investment in security provisions, practices and procedures. The Integrity Programme forms part of this emphasis towards matters other than just the physical security aspects within a multi-national organisation.

“For the benefit of our stakeholders, we do everything we can to improve our integrity,” says Simon Scales. As a former police officer, he had wide experience of working on intelligence, anti-terror and fraud-related issues as a detective when he decided to switch over to the private sector, joining TNT in 2002.

“We’re aiming towards ethical transparency and take this aspect extremely seriously,” says Simon enthusiastically. He has technical and investigative expertise within this field and is part of the company’s core investigation team. Although most of his time is spent on prevention aspects, he also spends time investigating any allegations or suspicion of fraud and corruption.

Risk Ranking Exercise

TNT has involved internal departments in its efforts to prevent fraud and corruption and Simon admits that cases have been found and acted on.

“Early on, we decided to carry out a ‘Fraud and Corruption Health Check’ which we refer to as a Security Financial Review, or SFR, in different business units. Red flag items and fraud and corruption risks were identified. The list was long, and with the benefit of a risk-ranking exercise, which creates a TNT Fraud Profile, we were able to pinpoint the most high-risk items. The eventual result was a diagnostic report, tailored to the most significant areas of enquiry,” explains Simon.

But TNT didn’t stop there. “Based on the red flag item list, we started work on plugging the holes,” he continues. “Parallel with the Health Checks, the TNT Integrity Programme was developed, focusing on awareness and dilemma training. It’s about having the right things in place. We call it ‘doing the right things, and doing things right’ and from thereon our focus on continuous improvement is the key to the overall success of our programme.”

Tone at the Top

He also emphasises the importance of what is referred to as the “tone at the top.” TNT’s CEO Peter Bakker is deeply involved and has taken an active approach. By anchoring it at the top level, embedded and cascaded by the Director Group Integrity, the message of ethical transparency and the desired attitudes flows through the business units.

“The backing that our CEO and the Senior Management Teams have given to this topic has been crucial to what we have accomplished,” says Simon.

Whistleblower Policy

The subject of “whistleblowing” has also been given attention. It is widely accepted that reporting internal fraud and corruption has historically tended to be a poor career move and TNT has taken steps to change this attitude.

“In order to succeed with our Integrity Programme, it is of vital importance to establish a whistleblower policy that encourages people to report suspected cases,” says Simon. He recognises that although the tools and techniques to look for the signs of fraud and corruption are made available, actually giving people the confidence to speak out if they suspect wrong doings is essential

“But we are well on our way. The external advisors assisting us have helped us to identify that the ability to significantly increase profit margins is one compelling reason to systematically manage fraud and corruption risk.”

As an organisation, TNT knows that a thorough understanding of fraud and corruption risks across the organisation is a prerequisite for effective prevention. Using a risk management and assessment methodology expertise and acting on the Fraud Profiles they know that they are able to make a difference for their customers.