When discussing the ability of state and local government agencies to identify, prevent, and investigate fraud, one important component of agency success in this area is too often overlooked: confidence.
That is, the confidence that government professionals and investigators have in their software — especially public record search software — that will allow them to best prevent and investigate fraud while protecting citizens and consumers. Indeed, it is difficult to overestimate the value of having confidence in your tools in order to give your best effort to get the job done. Fortunately for government fraud investigators and their teams, that confidence seems to be growing.
The latest Thomson Reuters Government Fraud, Waste, & Abuse Report found that since the previous survey (released in 2020), there has been a great swelling of confidence among government workers despite the myriad of challenges they are still facing in the post-pandemic environment. For example, almost two-thirds of respondents (63%) said they were confident or very confident that they now had the tools they needed to prevent fraud, a stunning gain from just 50% that said that in 2020. This underscores the value that government agencies’ increased investment in technology solutions may have had on their case closure rate, their efficiency, and their confidence in their own abilities.
The survey also found that 72% of respondents now say they have confidence in the tools and resources used to address investigative issues. This was up from just 55% who said that in 2020.
The intrinsic value of confidence
While the report clearly shows that government workers may be feeling more confident in their public record search solutions, how does this confidence translate into positive impacts on the investigative and preventative efforts by these teams? Basically, the survey was able to extrapolate three main benefits — greater efficiency, stronger employee satisfaction, and an increased ability to excel in their job. Let’s look at these in turn:
Greater efficiency — When teams are more confident that they have what they need for an investigation or initial check, they work more efficiently and can get more cases resolved, which is one of the key measures of success for government agencies and fraud investigators.
Much of that improved efficiency seems to be coming from the increased use of better technology, especially in the area of public record search software. For fraud investigators, finding the correct information quickly from public records is critical, so the most tech-advanced tools are vitally important in this area. That’s why it’s good news that now almost as many surveyed fraud specialists are using third-party search platforms (46%) than are using Google (48%), according to the report.
For government agencies, this is a very critical step forward — and the increased efficiency that these third-party platforms allow goes a long way to increasing the confidence that government investigators feel in their tools and the work they’re doing.
Increased employee satisfaction — As we’ve seen, greater efficiency breeds stronger confidence among government workers in their tools and the work they’re doing; and that in turn, has further positive ripple effects. For example, greater confidence is shown to improve employee satisfaction and helps reduce turnover — notably of key employees such as retiring professionals with years of experience. Indeed, in the report, more than one-third (37%) of respondents cited this loss of institutional knowledge from retiring staff as one of the top departmental challenges that agencies continue to face.
Agencies would be wise to leverage this increased confidence to promote further gains in employee satisfaction by asking their most experienced and productive employees about their work satisfaction. Then, using that information, agency leaders should determine how best the agency can duplicate those experiences for other employees by offering them the same kind of productive and engaging work.
Stronger ability to excel in their job — When teams are confident that they have the software they need to handle typical fraud cases, they will be able to tackle new and emerging types of fraud, which also was cited in the survey as a growing concern.
Yet, when it comes to government investigators and other agency workers, their success depends on their confidence that their tools and their talent give them, especially the power to determine what vital information their public records searches reveal. It is this confidence in what their professional insights can discover when paired with advanced investigative solutions, that gives investigators the wherewithal to excel further into other areas of investigation and fraud detection.
Agency leaders need to remember that allowing a public service employee to contribute to something larger than oneself with confidence in their tools and ability is a big reason why many employees chose to do this job in the first place.
Investing in confidence
Ultimately, increasing your team’s confidence in their tools improves their work and increases the public’s trust in them. Going forward, almost half of survey respondents say their agencies are allocating at least a portion of their budget toward additional public records software and resources that can help workers prevent fraud — again, a positive development that other agencies should emulate.
To learn more about how new public records investigation software can help your team, read the full Government Fraud, Waste, & Abuse Report from Thomson Reuters.