Trinity Information » College Policies » Fraud Policy
Approved by the Board on December 12th, 2001.
On this page:
- 1. Purpose
- 2. Scope
- 3. Policy
- 4. Definitions
- 5. Responsibility for the Detection and Prevention of Fraud
- 6. Reporting Fraud
- 7. Procedures for the Investigation of Alleged Fraud
- 8. Accounting for Loss, Restitution and Recovery
- 9. Notifying the HEA
- 10. References for Employees Disciplined or Prosecuted for Fraud
- 11. Review of Fraud Policy
- 12. Note
The University of Dublin, Trinity College is and wishes to be seen by all as being honest and opposed to fraud in the way it conducts its business. The College's fraud policy addresses the responsibility of employees and management for the detecting and reporting of fraud or suspected fraud.
This policy is limited to financial and asset related fraud within the College and its subsidiary companies and operations. It is anticipated that this document will form the first part of a more all-encompassing document which will cover academic and other fraud related matters.
It is the policy of the College to identify and promptly investigate any possibility of fraudulent or related dishonest activities against the College and, when appropriate, to pursue legal remedies available under the law. The College aims to promote an organisation culture which encourages the prevention of fraud by raising awareness of the need for high standards of personal conduct.
Any act of fraud ascertained upon investigation, or pursuant to a criminal conviction, or through written acknowledgment by the employee(s) concerned, shall result in the appropriate disciplinary and legal actions against the employee(s) and/or entities, to include the possibility of termination of employment, restitution and/or forwarding information to the appropriate authorities for criminal prosecution. The repayment of losses will be sought in all cases and the College would normally expect to recover all costs in addition to the recovery of losses.
For the purposes of this policy, fraud shall include but not be limited to:
- Theft or misappropriation of College assets
- Submitting false claims for payments or reimbursement
- Accepting or offering a bribe or accepting gifts or other favours under circumstances that might lead to the inference that the gift or favour was intended to influence an employee's decision-making while serving the College
- Accepting a commission from or paying same to a third party
- Blackmail or extortion
- 'Off Books' accounting or making false or fictitious entries
- Knowingly creating and/or distributing false or misleading financial reports
- Paying of excessive prices or fees where justification thereof is not documented
- Violation of the College's procedures with the aim of personal gain or to the detriment of the College
- Willful negligence intended to cause damage to the material interest of the College
- A dishonourable or irresponsible or deliberate act against the interests of the College
For the purposes of this policy, an employee refers to a staff member who receives remuneration, either full or part time from the College. The term also includes any volunteer who provided services to the College through an official arrangement with the College or a College organisation.
Heads of Department,managers and employees at all levels are responsible for exercising due diligence and control to prevent, detect and report acts of fraud. Those who fail to carry out these responsibilities will be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
Responsibility of Management
It is the responsibility of Heads of Department and managers to be familiar with the types of improprieties that might occur in their area and be alert for any indication that improper activity, misappropriation or dishonest activity is or was in existence in his or her area and put in place controls to avoid such occurrences.
Deans, Heads of Departments and area managers are required to support and work with College Officers, other involved departments and law enforcement agencies in the detection, reporting and investigation of dishonest or fraudulent activity including the prosecution of offenders. If a fraud is detected in an area the Head of Department or manager is responsible for taking appropriate corrective actions to ensure adequate controls exist to prevent reoccurrence of improper actions.
Responsibility of Employees
It is the responsibility of all employees to conduct their College business in such a way as to prevent fraud occurring in the workplace. Employees must also be alert to the possibilities for fraud and be on guard for any indications that improper or dishonest activity is taking place.
It is the responsibility of all College staff to report any suspicions of fraud without delay according to the procedure laid out below. Persons who cover up, obstruct, fail to report, or monitor a fraud that they become aware of, or ought to have been aware of, will be considered to be an accessory after the fact and may be subject to disciplinary action and/or discharge. Persons who threaten retaliation against a person reporting a suspected fraud shall be subject to disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment.
Great care must be taken in dealing with suspected dishonest or fraudulent activities to avoid:
- Incorrect accusations
- Alerting suspected individuals to an investigation underway
- Treating employees unfairly
- Making statements that could lead to claims of false accusations or other charges.
In the case of all employees and management, the incident, facts, suspicions or allegations should not be discussed with anyone inside or outside the College unless specifically directed to do so by the College Officer investigating the incident. In particular, the matter should not be discussed with the individual suspected of fraud.
Fraud can be detected at any level within the College and the following general principles should apply in the reporting of suspected fraud:
- A person who suspects that fraudulent practice may be operating should, in the first instance, report the matter to his/her Head of Department, Dean or immediate superior. Should it be inappropriate to make such a report to an immediate superior, the report should be made to that person's manager or directly to the Secretary to the College*.
- Once a report of suspected fraud is made to supervisor/manager that person should report the suspicion to his/her Head of Department, Dean or immediate Superior or directly to the Secretary to the College*.
- A Head of Department, Dean or immediate superior on receipt of a report of a suspected fraud should report the matter to the Senior Dean in the case of an academic member of staff and the College Secretary* in respect of all other staff.
A Fraud Incident Report should be completed by the person reporting suspected fraud.
No investigation of the suspected fraud should take place until the Senior Dean (in the case of academic staff) and/or Secretary to the College* (in the case of Administrative Staff) has been informed.
The Senior Dean or the Secretary to the College* will (except in any case involving his or her Office) have responsibility for co-ordinating the College's response and will seek expert legal advice from the College's legal advisors or other advice if required. The Senior Dean or the Secretary to the College* will inform the Provost, and relevant College Officers identified by the Provost (who might include Vice Provost, Bursar, Registrar, Treasurer, Staff Secretary, the Chief Steward) and other heads of department as appropriate and keep them informed of developments.
The Senior Dean or the Secretary to the College*, on behalf of the Provost, will notify the Internal Auditor who will, if appropriate, conduct an initial investigation to gather factual information and reach a preliminary view as to whether further action is required. The Internal Auditor will report the findings, conclusions any recommendations to the Provost via the Secretary to the College*.
Where initial investigation provides reasonable grounds for suspecting a member or members of staff of fraud or a dishonest activity, the Provost, in consultation with the Secretary to the College* and other relevant College Officers, will decide if any actions are necessary to prevent further loss. This may require, in consultation with the Staff Secretary, the suspension with or without pay of the member or members of staff (which will take place in accordance with Chapter 12 Schedule III - paragraph 12 of the Statutes) and/or the decision as to whether further investigation is required.
Each case will be considered individually in accordance with the expert advice obtained with a view to minimising the losses (both monetary and otherwise) to the College. Having reached a decision as to what further action is necessary and how such actions should be undertaken, the Senior Dean or the Secretary to the College* will liaise with the head(s) of department.
When further investigation is required, an Investigating Committee and its Chair will be appointed by the Provost for each case. All meetings of the Committee will be treated as confidential and shall be fully documented with investigation work normally led by the Internal Auditor. In circumstances where the investigation requires the use of technical expertise which the Internal Auditor may not possess, the Investigating Committee may appoint external specialists (subject to the approval of the Provost) to lead and/or contribute to the investigation.
Upon completion of its investigation, the Investigating Committee will submit a written report of its findings and its recommendation(s) to the Provost who, in consultation with the Senior Dean or Secretary to the College*, and relevant College Officers, will issue a decision on the matter and determine whether internal disciplinary procedures should be invoked or whether the Gardaí should be notified. The Secretary to the College* will communicate the decision to the person(s) accused of the fraud or related dishonest activity and will submit a copy of the report to the Audit Committee and Board.
Employees who are under investigation shall be entitled to have a member of College staff or other appropriate individual present during the course of any interview that is conducted in connection with the alleged fraud or related dishonest activity with a view to defending their case.
The Senior Dean or the Secretary to the College* will notify the College's Insurance Brokers at an early stage to ensure that insurance matters are dealt with promptly and properly.
The Senior Dean or the Secretary to the College* will be responsible for dealing with any enquiries from the press and other media.
The Audit Committee will, at an appropriate time, consider the results of the investigation and assess whether there is a weakness in the College's systems of internal control which need to be addressed. The Audit Committee will report the findings, conclusions and recommendations, following consultation with the relevant department(s), to the Board of the College.
The department incurring the loss from a dishonest or fraudulent act will normally suffer the loss until monies can be recovered through insurance or restitution.
The Provost, Secretary to the College* and other relevant College Officers will consider reporting to the HEA the confirmed Fraud indicating what steps have been taken to address the weaknesses in the systems of internal control related to the Fraud.
Where there is a request for a reference for a member of staff who has been disciplined or prosecuted for fraud or a dishonest activity, the Staff Secretary shall prepare any reply to a request for a reference having regard to College policies and employment law.
This fraud policy will be reviewed tri-annually by the Finance Committee.
* If the suspected incident involves the Office of the Secretary to the College the Treasurer shall undertake the role and functions specified for the Secretary to the College