Best-in-Class Compliance for Jefferson County Public Schools
Back in the spring of 1829, the city of Louisville, Kentucky established its first public school system. Now known as Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), the system currently has more than 100,000 students and 155 schools, many of which have received awards for excellence in education. JCPS is committed to safeguarding every taxpayer dollar in its $1 billion dollar budget. In order to protect against financial misconduct, JCPS selected NAVEX Global to provide an effective means for school employees to report any concerns they may observe regarding misconduct, financial fraud or other issues.
In a school system with 18,000+ employees, there is probably someone experiencing financial difficulties, says Eddie Muns, Director of Accounting. If that person were to attempt to take money from the school, Muns wants the best possible controls in place to foil the plot.
“If fraud were to happen, somebody would almost certainly notice it. A fraud hotline increases the chance that the issue will be reported early and we can prevent or reduce any damage,” said Muns.
Eddie describes JCPS as a billion dollar organization with a nonprofit mentality because employees are not trying to get rich – they just care about kids. Even so, there is always a risk that financial problems will cause someone to resort to fraud.
The Ideal Solution: NAVEX Global’s Ethicspoint™
“There will always be people going through difficult times and facing monetary needs. Sometimes that results in schemes that intentionally fall outside of internal financial controls. If that happens, a hotline tip can be the best way to uncover misconduct. We decided to work with EthicsPoint because their system is intuitive, flexible and the right fit for our organization.” - Eddie Muns, Director of Accounting
The school system began looking for an effective hotline and integrated case management system that would be flexible, high quality and easy to work with. JCPS evaluated several providers and decided they would get the best available system by working with NAVEX Global to implement EthicsPoint .
Working with the Implementation Services team at NAVEX Global, Muns quickly realized that he had helpful partners on his side. “This was brand new for us, but the initial setup was easy, the case management system was intuitive and we ended up with a product that looks very professional,” said Muns.
“Having a fraud hotline influences employee behavior. If they think there is a high risk of being caught, people are less likely to try something,” Muns said.
The team at JCPS began establishing an efficient workflow structure for handling reported issues. When a report comes in, it is reviewed by Muns and the heads of the security and internal audit functions. After an initial review and assessment, they decide the appropriate action to take.
If the report needs to be investigated, Muns creates an audit program using the case management software. The department leaders then work together, review and discuss case notes and communicate via the system, ensuring a higher level of security.
Initially, Muns’ team was afraid that they would receive numerous frivolous complaints through the hotline. Instead, they were pleasantly surprised with the results. reports have been scarce, but very relevant. Muns says a hotline system is valuable even when it is not directly catching fraud. “having a fraud hotline influences employee behavior. If they think there is a high risk of being caught, people are less likely to try something,” Muns said. Now, employees know exactly how to voice their concerns about possible issues, either through the phone or custom web intake site. As the person in charge of accounting in the nation’s 28th largest school district, Muns is more confident that he will learn about potential issues and resolve them before it is too late.
Learning Through Higher-Quality Results
Muns remembers that his team was ecstatic at the initial release and is even happier after seeing it in operation. After all, they are doing more than just safeguarding taxpayer dollars. “A fraud issue would place the welfare of a child’s education at stake. We have an excellent hotline system because we want the best for our kids,” finished Muns.
About NAVEX Global, Inc.
NAVEX Global’s comprehensive suite of ethics and compliance software, content and services helps organizations protect their people, reputation and bottom line. Trusted by 95 of the FORTUNE 100 and more than 12,500 clients, our solutions are informed by the largest ethics and compliance community in the world.