The Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist (ACFS) Course from Focus Training

In a review by the Fraud Advisory Panel (FAP), the UK anti-fraud charity, it was reported that between 2006 and 2016 the cost of fraudulent activity in the UK rose from £52 billion to £193 billion.[1] Of this total amount, it is estimated that the cost of fraud to the public services is around £21 billion each year. [2] This is money which should be spent on hospitals, schools, and frontline staff among other things, yet it ends up in the hands of those who are not entitled to it. Public sector fraud typically manifests itself in the form of benefit, tax, and council tax fraud, i.e. when people claim benefits that they are not entitled to, or when individuals or companies falsify expenses or evade tax payments.


Fighting fraud through effective training

Fraudulent activity with public funds on such a large scale has a direct impact on the amount of resources available for frontline services such as education, health, policing, and defence. The reduction of fraud is a matter of fairness; every false tax return and fraudulent benefit claim reduces the amount of funding available for those who are eligible and wholly deserving of it.

In the current fragile economic climate it is even more important that there are trained professionals in place throughout the public and private sectors to ensure that fraudulent activity is being prevented, detected, prosecuted, and recovered.

It cannot be overemphasised just how vital it is that fraud investigation is professionally undertaken by highly trained personnel. In the event that procedures are not properly followed, evidence is gathered unlawfully, or a subject’s rights are breached, the evidence may be ruled as inadmissible, leading to the case failing in court, and costs or damages being awarded to the organisation.

The Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board (CFPAB) was created in 2001, with the purpose of establishing and maintaining professional standards in the delivery of a range of training courses in the field of counter fraud work. The board oversees the delivery of training courses and ensures that they meet certain criteria with regards to quality and effectiveness, as well as ensuring that the individual courses are conducted so that Higher Education credits can be awarded.


Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist (ACFS) Course

At Focus Training we provide an Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist (ACFS) Training Programme which is accredited by the University of Portsmouth and the CFPAB. The course is seen as the industry standard, and is aimed at personnel whose work requires them to deal with the investigation of fraud and financial crime within an organisation or company in the public or private sector, and is designed to equip them with the specific skills required to successfully prevent, detect, and recover from fraud in a lawful, ethical, and proportionate way.


Who should undertake the course?

The course is suitable for anyone who works in the field of fraud and financial crime investigation within an organisation or company in the public or private sector, including:

  • Fraud Investigators
  • Fraud Managers
  • Risk Managers
  • Internal Auditors
  • Insurance Officers
  • Professional Standards Staff
  • Human Resources Personnel
  • Senior Finance Staff
  • Compliance Officers

We run several courses each year, and you can find full details on our website.


Course Breakdown

The qualification is made up of four academic modules, delivered via a mix of distance learning, class-based learning, and web-based exams. The successful completion of all four modules results in the achievement of the ACFS professional qualification. In addition to this, 40 academic credits are also awarded, which can contribute towards obtaining a Higher Education Diploma and the Advanced Level Certified Counter Fraud Specialist (CCFS) professional qualification, which in turn can lead to an Undergraduate Degree and then Masters level qualifications.

  • Unit one - Criminal Investigation and Procedures: This module provides delegates with case studies, allowing them to examine current data protection and human rights legislation and develop rigorous, ethical approaches to successful investigation and prosecution.
  • Unit two - Intelligence; one of three options:
    1. Covert Foot Surveillance: Delegates are given the opportunity to examine the legislation that impacts covert investigations, develop compliant procedures, and hone the skills and abilities required for conducting such operations.
    2. Fraud Intelligence Analysis: This part of the course provides the opportunity to examine the legislation surrounding covert surveillance, and establish best practices for obtaining intelligence and evidence from electronic devices. It also teaches delegates how to analyse information using the internationally recognised concepts from Anacapa Sciences.
    3. Proactive Intelligence Gathering: Delegates can explore the use of CCTV, developing an understanding of the legislation and codes of practice relating to its use. This part of the course also covers the legislation and techniques for internet investigation and the obtention of intelligence from electronic devices.
  • Unit three - Investigative Interviewing: Delegates are given the opportunity to conduct investigative interviews using familiar interview situations and a nationally-recognised model that helps to develop best practice and strong communication skills.
  • Unit four - Statement Writing, Case Papers, and Court Skills: This part of the course ensures that investigators understand the rules of evidence with regards to statements of evidence. It also enables investigators to prepare evidential files effectively and to the standards required by the Crown Prosecution Service, as well as enhancing the understanding of the court system and rules of evidence.


What happens after the course?

Upon completion of the course there are a number of things that will happen, including the following:

·       You will be awarded with the title of ‘Accredited Counter Fraud Specialist’.

·       The qualification is accredited by the University of Portsmouth, and will have earned you 40 academic credits and the opportunity to move onto further study and qualifications in the field of fraud investigation.

·       You will automatically be included on the Register of Counter Fraud Specialists, which is held by the University of Portsmouth’s Counter Fraud Professional Accreditation Board (CFPAB).

·       In order to maintain your professional status you must complete 90 hours of Continuing Professional Development (CPD) training over three years.

·       On completion of the course you can choose to become a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy (CIPFA)

Full details of the ACFS course can be found on our website, including a detailed breakdown of the modules. However, if you’d like to find out more please don’t hesitate to contact us and we’ll be more than happy to answer your questions.

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