ACFE Insights Blog

The Value in Establishing Public-Private Partnerships

In a webinar presented to ACFE Corporate Alliance members and ACFE Law Enforcement and Government Alliance members, Lauren Kohr and Victor Cardona, CFE, delve into the significance of establishing public-private partnerships (PPP).

By Abbie Staiger May 2024 Duration: 4-minute read
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In a recent webinar presented to ACFE Corporate Alliance members and ACFE Law Enforcement and Government Alliance members, Lauren Kohr, Strategic Engagement Advisor of Public/Private Partnerships and Outreach for IRS-Criminal Investigations, and Victor Cardona, CFE, Senior Vice President and BSA Office Head of Anti-Money Laundering for Golden State Bank, delved into the significance of establishing public-private partnerships (PPP).

Why Prioritize Public-Private Partnerships?

These partnerships offer trusted points of contact, providing a reliable avenue for collaboration. Additionally, PPPs enable the leveraging of additional resources, enhancing the capacity to combat financial crimes effectively. By facilitating the ability to help “trace fraud,” enabling more timely responses and follow-up actions, PPPs play a crucial role in maintaining the integrity of financial systems. Moreover, they foster network linkage and targeting, resulting in investigative efficiencies. Overall, prioritizing PPPs is instrumental in achieving collaborative efforts aimed at safeguarding financial institutions and the community against fraudulent activities.

Partnerships allow for the sharing of targeted information, thereby resulting in a more efficient use of resources. This leads to allowing the private industry to conduct more focused and targeting fraud investigations, assisting to identify fraudulent activity that may not be detectable with automated systems or processes, and financial intelligence and information providing law enforcement with data to initiate or enhance investigations.

Initiatives like Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Cornerstone Program and the El Camino Real Financial Crimes Task Force illustrate the power of collaboration in combating financial crimes. These partnerships bridge the gap between public and private sectors, fostering mutual understanding and cooperation.

Framework Considerations for a PPP

Before delving deeper into PPPs, it is essential to recognize that successful partnerships hinge on perspective, adaptability, trust and accountability, all vital components for maintaining the value chain. Understanding several framework considerations is crucial for establishing effective partnerships.

Contribute: Partnerships thrive when both parties contribute resources, expertise, commitment and engage in training and knowledge sharing.

Context: It is important to understand the context behind partnership establishment, encompassing risk and cost sharing along with joint decision-making.

Perspective: Balancing perspectives from law enforcement and the private sector is critical, ensuring the protection of all stakeholders’ interests.

Roles and Responsibilities: Roles and responsibilities must be clearly defined to set expectations, ensure accountability and maintain effective communication.

Information Sharing: Information sharing acts as a gateway to meaningful and sustainable collaboration.

Innovation: Innovation drives proactive fraud detection and prevention strategies.

Establishing a Framework

The goal is to serve as a continuous feedback loop of information obtained through PPPs, intelligence and information sharing to public and private sector partners and internal section of criminal investigations (CI).

F.I.R.S.T.: Feedback In Response to Strategic Threats.

Three-Pronged Approach

  1. CI FIRST PPP Initiative: This initiative focuses on the public-private partnership, emphasizing information sharing with private sector partners.
  2. CI FIRST Feedback Alerts: This creates a collaborative public-facing document to address emerging trends, typologies, red flags and training needs.
  3. CI FIRST Strategic Engagement and Information Sharing: This aspect evaluates the effectiveness of outreach efforts and identifies areas where each partner can bring value.

Operationalizing Public-Private Partnerships

Establishing a foundation for effective partnership and expanding the framework for strategic partnerships are pivotal steps in operationalizing PPPs. This requires a phased approach:

Phase 1: Foundation for an effective partnership.

Phase 2: Expanded framework for strategic partnerships – trusted, effective and tactical.

Building Effective and Sustainable Partnerships – Where to Start

Industry Trade Groups/Associations: Industry trade groups and associations, such as the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE), provide valuable platforms for engagement, including chapter meetings, peer groups, conferences and centers of influence.

Investing in the Partnership: This involves building trust, understanding perspectives and making time for meaningful interactions.

Leverage and Expand the Partnership: Leveraging and expanding the partnership requires assessing opportunities, facilitating information sharing, network building and prioritizing capacity building of individuals, organizations, operations or products involved in the partnership.

Succession/Transition Planning: This type of planning ensures continuity through smooth communication, identifying replacements and maintaining momentum.

Overcoming Challenges in PPPs

Challenges surround PPPs. Time constraints, limited resources, differing perspectives, mismatched priorities, and legislative environment, legal and privacy often hinder the PPP process. Overcoming these obstacles demands open communication, flexibility and a shared commitment to common goals.

Time: 23% of the people who were polled at the beginning of this webinar said they do not have time. But how can we find time? Is there 15 minutes or half an hour, once a month, to start building that value chain for yourself? Effective time management is crucial for building value and fostering partnerships.

Limited Resources: When challenged with limited resources, how do we best use the resources we do have? Optimizing available resources helps overcome limitations.

Different Perspectives and Mismatched Priorities: Aligning different perspectives and priorities requires finding common ground for effective collaboration.

Legislative Environment, Legal and Privacy: Navigating legislative and legal challenges necessitates engaging legal experts for guidance.

Even with the challenges they may present, PPPs are indispensable in enhancing collaboration, leveraging resources and combating financial crimes effectively. By overcoming obstacles through open communication and shared commitment, PPPs can yield significant results in safeguarding financial systems.

Join the collaborative effort and learn more about the Corporate Alliance and LEGA partnerships.