Our Role and People

Our Role and People

Our role

Who we are

The Serious Fraud Office is the lead law enforcement agency for investigating and prosecuting serious financial crime, including bribery and corruption.

The presence of an agency dedicated to white collar crime is integral to New Zealand’s reputation for transparency, integrity, fair-mindedness and low levels of corruption. A specialist agency that uses multi-disciplinary teams such as the SFO is considered internationally as the gold standard for responding to complex financial crime.

The agency’s highly experienced team of 53 employees is based in Auckland. Most are frontline financial crime investigation specialists who examine possible instances of offending and, where appropriate, prosecute to hold the offenders to account.

While our core business remains the detection, investigation and prosecution of serious and complex financial crime including corruption, the SFO is also committed to preventing these crimes. We are an organisation that learns and develops from experience to ensure our specialist skills are kept relevant to protect the social and economic wellbeing of New Zealand.

How we determine cases to investigate

The SFO has statutory independence. Operational decisions are made without Ministerial direction. Like some other government agencies, the SFO has the power to compel the production of documents and the answering of questions.

As a government agency with limited resources, our focus is on cases that could significantly impact the economy or the New Zealand public. In the case of bribery or corruption, we investigate crimes that could undermine confidence in the public sector or are of significant public interest. Cases are prioritised using a set of criteria that addresses the scale of the crime and its impact on victims, the complexity and the degree of public interest.

The decision to prosecute is based on sufficiency of evidence and public interest. While it is not the role of the SFO to find guilt or to seek compensation for losses suffered by victims – that sits with the Courts – public disclosure and custodial sentences, where imposed, are strong deterrents of white collar crime. We play an important role in achieving both results. High-profile cases are also an opportunity for us to share our expertise about the impact of complex financial crime, both on immediate victims and the wider public and private sectors.

Vision and Core principles

A productive and prosperous New Zealand, safe from financial crime, bribery and corruption.

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Excellence

We strive to be a world-class financial crime and corruption agency.

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Pride

In the work we do and our contribution to New Zealand.

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Connect

Recognising our own strengths and opportunities, and those arising from close collaboration with and connections across agencies and sectors.

Our leadership team

Photo of the senior leadership team
From left: Rebecca Rolls, Paul O’Neil, Julie Read, Graham Gill (the Senior Leadership Team)

Our People

Strategic goals:

Attract and retain the best people; Challenge and support our team to be the best; Have a culture of continuous improvement

An inspiring 2020 Strategic Plan and meaningful principles continue to be at the heart of the SFO’s work. Our success in achieving priorities within a limited budget and delivering our Strategic Plan relies in large part on retaining and continually enhancing the capabilities of our small, streamlined workforce, 88 percent of whom perform frontline activities. Over the last year we have focused on expanding our electronic forensic capabilities. Having investigators who understand the digital landscape is critical to the success of our operations.

The Ask Your Team (AYT) survey that was introduced in 2015 offers a strong across-the-business view. AYT is able to provide a comparison with other agencies who use this tool across the public sector. Our results for leadership and culture have improved since the tool was introduced three years ago, indicating we are making good progress. Our responsiveness to feedback from employees about issues with systems reinforced the need to invest in new, more efficient systems to better manage information on our cases.

Given the nature of our fast-evolving and specialist roles, training is essential to maintaining our edge. We have done this by offering two opportunities to employees to act in more senior roles, five advancements (of high performers) to senior roles and two external secondments - one to the Financial Markets Authority and the other to the Commerce Commission. We have also recruited internally for 5 positions.

Other development opportunities have included leadership development and coaching for individuals showing potential to develop into future leaders and cultural competency and awareness training, available to all staff to ensure capability and integrity in the environment we operate within.

This year, a number of employees participated in international training opportunities in specialised areas:

  • An electronic forensic investigator attended the Enfuse Conference (Security and Digital Investigations), May 2018, USA. Enfuse is the biggest digital investigations, e-discovery and endpoint security conference of its kind. Delegates from more than 50 countries attended. EnFuse has been held annually for 15 years. The conference offers lectures and hands-on labs delivered by industry experts, giving attendees the opportunity to test drive the latest techniques, methodologies and technology.
  • Two investigators attended the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Global Fraud Conference, June 2018, USA. ACFE is the world’s largest anti-fraud organisation. There are over 85,000 members worldwide and its mission is to reduce the incidence of fraud and white-collar crime throughout the world. Over 60 countries were represented at the conference.
  • A principal investigating lawyer attended the annual Chief Investigators’ Command Course hosted by the Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC) of Hong Kong in October 2017. The course is an international training forum that fosters closer collaboration between law enforcement agencies from around the world. Aside from participants from Hong Kong and mainland China, law enforcement agencies from 11 other countries were represented at the event.

A snapshot of people performance

This overview shows workforce data trending in a positive direction across a range of indicators. As at 30 June 2018, our workforce was 53 full-time employees. We expect to be at almost at full capacity early in 2018/19 after recruiting specialist skills in electronic forensics and filling vacancies that arose from departures in the operational teams. The turnover result of financial year 2017/18 was due to employees finding career opportunities outside the SFO.

2015/16

Engagement Result
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51 Actual position numbers

2016/17

Engagement Result
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54 Actual position numbers

2017/18

Engagement Result
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53 Actual position numbers

2015/16

Male/female employee ratio
30 25
Male Female
Ethnic diversity*
European 81.3%
Maori 2.1%
Pacific 2.1%
Asian 4.2%
Average age 44.6
Average days' sick leave 6.5
Workplace accidents
/injury lost time
Unplanned turnover 5.9%
Percentage of appropriation
spend on training

2016/17

Male/female employee ratio
25 28
Male Female
Ethnic diversity*
NZ European 61.1%
Asian 3.8%
Other 1.8%
Not declared 33.3%
Average age 44.2
Average days' sick leave 5.7
Workplace accidents
/injury lost time
1
0
baseline
Unplanned turnover 16.98%
Percentage of appropriation
spend on training
2%
baseline

2017/18

Male/female employee ratio
25 26
Male Female
Ethnic diversity*
European 83%
Asian 7%
Other 9%
Not declared 0%
Average age 42.3
Average days' sick leave 3
Workplace accidents
/injury lost time

0
0
Unplanned
turnover
22.6%
Percentage of appropriation
spend on training
1.28%
*Ethnicity is self-declared

Key capabilities

The document below lists the indicators and associated measures that we use to check our progress on achieving our Integrated Statement of Strategic Intent (ISSI).

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