The role of the Counter Fraud Investigator (CFI) has become critical within the law enforcement sector, particularly within government organisations such as HMRC, DEFRA, Department of Health, Insolvency Service, DWP, SFO, and Local Authorities. In this guest blog, Fiona Macaskill, Director of Learning & Development at Credit Services Association (CSA) explains more about the apprenticeships and training available around this invaluable role.
The CFI acts autonomously leading small non-complex criminal investigations and a range of civil investigations and can also act as a case officer within a large investigation team, carrying out parts of a more complex investigation as directed by the Lead Investigator. It is the CFI’s responsibility to proactively investigate allegations of fraud and make effective, autonomous operational decisions from referral to conclusion to drive their investigations. This is no small task.
The Level 4 Counter Fraud Investigator Apprenticeship Standard was designed to equip individuals with the skills required to carry out this complex role in the regulatory context in which it sits. As the UK trade body for the collections and debt purchase sector and Approved Apprenticeships Training Provider, we at CSA were keen to add this important qualification to our Learning & Development portfolio when it was launched.
As an exhibitor at the upcoming GovNet Counter Fraud Conference 2021, we wanted to use National Apprenticeship Week (#NAW2021 8-12 February) to highlight the apprenticeship as a means of future-proofing the CFI profession at a time when its importance – and skills gaps – are growing. Returning for its 10th year on 23 February, the conference will of course be virtual but the platform looks to be highly interactive and we are looking forward to showcasing what we can do as both a trade body and training provider to delegates from across the public sector. The event website highlights how quickly the sector and profession is evolving and aims to help delegates stay at the forefront of this. It talks about the need for a “new kind of intelligent approach” that “empowers the specialists on the front line”. We firmly believe that investing in both existing and the next generation of employees in this field through a modern and fit-for-purpose apprenticeship standard is a key driver for this.
Since becoming an Approved Apprenticeship Training Provider back in 2017 when the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced, we have worked with a vast array of private and public sector organisations outside of our membership/sector to bring core skills around debt collection, credit control, compliance & risk, and counter fraud investigation into their organisations via high quality programmes that draw on both our industry and L&D expertise. We are still working hard to help employers overcome misconceptions and barriers to using and maximising Levy funds either due to lack of awareness or lack of resource/understanding of the long-term organisational impact. However, as we emerge from the pandemic, it seems that there has never been a better time for organisations to re-evaluate their workforce planning and look at areas where they can most benefit from developing expertise from within; counter fraud investigation being a key one. With the skills required becoming more and more sought after, the return on investment of using Apprenticeship Levy funds to up-skill individuals in these roles is almost immeasurable. As a Level 4 qualification, it also offers learners a significant opportunity in terms of social mobility as a stepping stone on a successful career pathway in the profession and on to senior leadership.
We hope you’ll visit our virtual exhibition booth at the event to find out more and our team would welcome any one-to-one meetings to offer further advice and information before, during, or after the event. In the meantime, you can find out more about us here and more about the Counter Fraud Investigator Apprenticeship we offer here.
Fiona Macaskill, Director of Learning & Development, Credit Services Association (CSA)