The City of Ottawa today received the Fraud and Waste Hotline Report tabled at Audit Committee by Auditor General Ken Hughes.
The Office of the Auditor General identified instances reported to the City’s Fraud and Waste Hotline in 2013 and 2014 which resulted in a range of management actions from discipline and suspension to termination.
“I thank the Auditor General and his staff for this report. The Fraud and Waste Hotline is a valuable management tool to ensure increased transparency and accountability at the City,” said City Manager Kent Kirkpatrick. “I am pleased to confirm that the City continues to be well-run with strong management practices, a committed workforce and a strong ethical climate.”
The City of Ottawa is committed to protecting its assets from any attempt by anyone to gain financial or other benefits by deceit or any other means, but also to implementing measures to prevent, detect and fully and impartially investigate any suspected acts of fraud or waste.
On July 11, 2005, Council approved the corporate policy on “Fraud and Other Similar Irregularities” to support measures already in place at the City and to provide guidelines for prevention, detection, investigation and reporting of fraudulent activity at the City.
The Fraud and Waste Hotline was launched on November 1, 2005 to facilitate the anonymous and confidential reporting of suspected fraud and waste by employees. In May 2009, the Hotline was expanded to make it available to the public.
The Hotline allows an employee or member of the public to report alleged fraud and waste by phone or Internet 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is operated independently by a third party and information received is only accessible by the Office of the Auditor General.
“Some areas for improvement have been identified and a refreshed Fraud and Waste Policy has been brought forward to Audit Committee for consideration and approval,” said Mr. Kirkpatrick. “Management takes these matters very seriously and we will continue to work with the Auditor General’s Office to improve processes.”
The City has a number of effective components that support its Ethics Management Framework and steps are being taken to strengthen communication to employees with respect to ethics-related expectations, including ensuring that every employee is familiar with the Code of Conduct, which includes whistleblower protection to reassure employees who fear reprisal for reporting ethical violations or breaches.
The Auditor General’s fraud and waste report will be considered by City Council on June 24.