TNT, a leading global express and mail provider, is at the forefront of fighting fraud and corruption.
Ten years ago, it would have been unthinkable for a top manager of a major international organisation to openly include the fight against corruption in his agenda. Today, things are different. It is now widely presumed that corruption hampers economic growth, discourages public and private investment, and increases poverty. The former president of the World Bank James Wolfenson exhorted the international community to “deal with the cancer of corruption because it is a major barrier to sustainable and equitable development”.
TNT is a leading global express and mail business that also has taken the lead within the field of preventing fraud and corruption. Having signed UN’s Global Compact, it included the 10th principle on anti-corruption in its business principles. TNT has taken this work further than most other companies.
TNT have invested heavily in their security frameworks globally, demonstrating a worldwide investment in both security provisions, practices and procedures. Their integrity programme forms part of this emphasis towards matters other then just the physical security aspects within a multinational organisation.
“For the benefit of our stakeholders, we do everything we can to improve our integrity,” says Divisional Security Manager Simon Scales. This former police officer had wide experience working in London, including intelligence, anti-terror and fraud-related investigations and issues as a detective when he decided to switch over to the private sector joining TNT in 2002.
“We’re aiming towards ethical transparency and take this aspect extremely seriously,” says Simon Scales. He has technical and investigative expertise within this field and is part of the company’s core investigation team. Although most of his time is spent on prevention aspects, he also spends time investigating any allegations or suspicion of fraud and corruption.
TNT has involved internal departments in its efforts to prevent fraud and corruption, and Simon Scales admits that cases have been found and reacted upon.
“Early on, we decided to carry out a ‘fraud and corruption health check’ in different business units. Red flag items and fraud and corruption risks were identified. The list was long, and with the benefit of a risk-ranking exercise (creating the TNT Express Fraud Profile) we were able to pin-point the most high-risk items. The eventual result was a diagnostic report, tailored to the most significant areas of enquiry,” he explains.
But they didn’t stop there. “Based on the red flag item list, we started work on plugging the holes, monitoring and measuring the corrective actions taken,” he continues.
Parallel to this the TNT Integrity Programme was developed with a newly created Group Integrity department focusing on awareness and dilemma training, in addition to the fraud and corruption health checks.
“It’s about having the right things in place – we call it ‘doing the right things, and doing things right’,” says Simon Scales, continuing, “and from there on our focus on continuous improvement is the key to the overall success of our programme.”
Tone at the top
He also emphasises the importance of what is referred to as the ‘tone at the top’. TNT’s CEO is deeply involved and has taken an active approach. By anchoring it at the top level, embedded by the Director of Express Security and cascaded through the Director of Group Integrity, the message of ethical transparency and the desired attitudes flow through the business units.
“The backing our CEO and the Senior Management Teams have given to this topic has been crucial to what we have accomplished. It is significant, necessary, and develops the internal culture,” says Simon Scales.
The subject of whistle-blowing has also been given attention. It is a well known fact that reporting internal fraud and corruption has historically tended to be a poor career move.
“In order to succeed with our integrity programme, it is of vital importance to establish a whistle-blower policy that encourages people to report suspected cases,” Simon Scales admits, recognising that although the tools and techniques to look for the signs of fraud and corruption are made available, it is essential to give people the confidence to speak out if they suspect any wrongdoing.
“But we are well on our way,” he says underlining the assistance he has received from the Hibis Group, a company specialising in the prevention of fraud and corruption.
“The ability to significantly increase profit margins is one compelling reason to systematically manage fraud and corruption risk,” says Nigel Iyer, Director in Hibis, emphasising that a thorough understanding of fraud and corruption risks across the organisation is a prerequisite for effective prevention.
“DNV has impressive risk management and assessment methodology expertise and using the Fraud and Corruption Resistance Assessment which we have developed together, we can make a difference for our customers,” Nigel Iyer says.