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Fighting Corruption With Due Diligence

Fighting Corruption With Due Diligence
10 March 2022
 

Gavin from Expeditious Services explains why it’s important to collectively promote a culture of honesty and integrity in FM.

Gavin McGuinness is the Relationship Director & Subject Matter Expert (SME) at Expeditious Services. He has worked for the company since 2020. Gavin joined Expeditious Services with a 14-year career in private security, preceded by a 17-year career in the military, having attained the rank of Major. In his private security career, Gavin has held such positions as Contract Manager, Senior Account Manager, Head of Security, and Security SME. At Expeditious Services, Gavin is responsible for threat analysis, new security strategies, mentoring team members, and improving security compliance throughout our work with clients.

 

What is Corruption?

 

Corruption can be defined as the “misuse of entrusted power for personal gain. Giving or obtaining an advantage through illegitimate, immoral means, or conflicting with your own or someone else’s duties and rights.” Acts of corruption can include bribery, theft, embezzlement, fraud, extortion, nepotism, cronyism.

The definition can be further split into two clear types of corruption:

 

  1. Petty corruption. This is more of an “everyday” type of corruption, can often be used by public officials to speed up a process or secure a certain action being taken.
  2. Grand corruption – This is often used by politicians, elites, senior officials, major companies, with a principal objective of gaining power, status and/or wealth.

 

Why is it a Problem in FM?

 

Due to the size and nature of contracts awarded and managed in the Facilities Management sector, proper due diligence and procurement processes should be followed. Businesses must be careful to ensure nothing can be considered to have influenced decision-making processes, especially in the awarding of contracts.

FM companies are entrusted with the compliance and governance elements against client service delivery. It’s therefore of the utmost importance to protect a client’s reputation by following the correct protocols. Not only are compliance elements at risk of breach, but the Security and Health & Safety aspects of an account could be compromised if correct and robust due diligence processes are not followed.

 

Why is it Particularly a Problem in Today’s World?

 

In the current economic and political climate, there are many drivers increasing the temptation to commit acts of corruption.

Poverty and high unemployment rates can be a contributing factor, especially amongst those lowest paid and most vulnerable to persuasion for the opportunity to boost their earnings.  Additionally, national instability (such as throughout COVID and Brexit) has meant many actions have been taken, shortcutting the normal protocols and processes, or relying on the noise of the news to mask corrupt behaviour. This has created an environment ripe for improper due diligence to take place and many taking advantage for their own personal or political gain.

There’s a general atmosphere of poor examples being set by those in power. In recent history, politicians have been heavily scrutinized for their own corruption scandals and dishonest behaviour.

 

What Due Diligence can be Done to Avoid Corruption Within Your Organisation?

 

It’s important as members of the FM industry we collectively promote a culture of honesty and integrity. Anti-corruption strategies and careful due diligence can prevent incidents and help to implement best practice throughout the supply chain. For accountability and ownership, there is also a need to have a dedicated policy relating to due diligence processes, governing suppliers, and dedication to be actively against corruption.

A policy outlining due-diligence processes might include:

  • Observing workforce movements
  • Transparent systems and reporting
  • Random checks
  • Audits of processes, internal controls, suppliers, purchase orders, other documentation
  • Training
  • Risk management
  • Supply chain control
  • Ethical sourcing
  • Culture of accountability and integrity
  • Penalties
  • Clear policies and processes for ALL employees to follow
  • Clear mechanisms to report suspicious activity, or whistleblowing
  • Maintaining a business ethics charter

 

Failing to prevent corruption not only has hugely negative implications on service and spend, but also on the reputation of your organisation.

Picture: a photograph of Expeditious Service's signage. Image Credit: Expeditious Services

Article written by Ella Tansley | Published 10 March 2022

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