In the world of government investigations, the biggest headlines always come from big-dollar or big-name corruption. A corruption scandal can bring an obscure agency to the front pages of the news. It’s often not a comfortable place to be for investigators accustomed to working under the radar, but it does help the public to remember the value provided by oversight agencies.
The majority of work done by investigative teams, of course, isn’t linked to major corruption scandals. Most agencies go for years or decades without a major public scandal. That’s because most investigations focus on behavior that is significant to agency effectiveness but hardly front-page material.
In fact, the most effective investigative teams spend at least as much time preventing waste as they do preventing corruption. The biggest financial benefit provided by investigators often isn’t getting rid of bad behavior like fraud or corruption, harassment or bullying – it’s pushing to eliminate inefficiency.
The vast majority of agency waste isn’t scandalous. It’s due to traditional problems with large organizations. Security threats go unmanaged because the proposed fix gets stalled while waiting for approval. One group isn’t talking to the other, and work gets duplicated. An RFP asks for a much more specific product than the agency needs, and it vastly overpays as a result.
The reality is that this work probably should be front-page news. That’s because this inefficiency starts to add up to big dollars when it’s multiplied across a large agency. The Federal Inspector General website Oversight.gov reports that $32 billion in potential savings were identified by IGs in 2018. That’s more than the entire budget for the US Department of Justice in that the same year. The vast majority of that $32 billion figure doesn’t come from corruption, illegal behavior or financial clawbacks. It comes from inefficiency that the IGs were able to identify and recommend a way to fix.
It’s difficult to gather facts on improper or illegal behavior when the perpetrator tries to hide them. It’s even harder, however, to push an agency with hundreds or thousands of employees toward working more efficiently when a subpar system is well-established within the agency. It’s critical for investigative groups to identify these inefficiencies, report them to oversight bodies, and use those bodies as leverage. And since most investigators aren’t fond of the spotlight, it has one more benefit. Despite the major benefit to taxpayers, it won’t likely land you in the news.
To learn how CMTS can help your investigative agency to prevent fraud, waste, abuse and inefficiency, call us at 855-667-8877 or email us at Team_CMTS@MyCMTS.com.