The Office's mission is to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse in the expenditure of public funds. (M.G.L. c.12A) Preventing fraud, waste, and abuse before they happen is our principal objective. Toward that end we employ a three-part prevention strategy:
- Timely intervention - that is, intervening in situations before fraud, waste, or abuse occurs. For example, the Office reviews every bill filed in each session of the General Court and, when appropriate, recommends amendments to help protect against fraud, waste, or abuse. The Office also provides assistance to public agencies. For example, the Office has provided technical assistance to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation when requested, and sometimes reviews requests for proposals or invitations for bids for major, complex procurements.
- Dissemination of lessons learned - by letting jurisdictions know about issues that should be of interest to many public officials. For example, we distribute many of our reports to agencies that we think may be able to use the information, and we use our Procurement Bulletin to inform local officials about the results of our work in other jurisdictions.
- Capacity building - involves providing training and technical assistance to public officials. The Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official program, our procurement manual, and our Procurement Bulletin are examples of our capacity building efforts.
Detecting fraud, waste, and abuse when they do occur is important. The Office conducts civil and criminal investigations and works with the Massachusetts Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney, and district attorneys to prosecute cases of individual wrongdoing. In some cases the Office reports matters to the State Ethics Commission or agency heads. Investigative results are also considered for identification of opportunities to prevent similar problems from arising in the future.
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