Fraud case highlights problems with contracting out
A recent news report that Langara College has dismissed its Manager of Administrative Services in the Continuing Studies Department after an alleged fraud scheme was discovered by college accounting and finance staff raises more concerns about the practice of contracting out instructor services. Court documents allege that the Manager of Administrative Services had fraudulently invoiced the college for instructor services in Continuing Studies programs.
According to an April 3, 2007 Vancouver Sun story, the Manager broke down and confessed to wrongly taking money from Langara by falsely issuing invoices. The college has gone to court to try and recover the money lost as a result of this scheme.
One of the unfortunate lessons in this case is that contracting out of instructor services-a common practice in Continuing Studies and Continuing Education programs-makes it difficult to track just what instructor services are being provided. In the Langara case, the Manager was allegedly able to use the grey zone of contracted out instructor services to manipulate invoices and defraud the institution. The result was that over the course of two years, the college estimates that the Manager's scheme cost the college over $400,000.
If post-secondary institutions want to strengthen their financial oversight, they would do well to learn from the experience at Langara. Contracting out instructor services just doesn't add up.
The Federation of Post-Secondary Educators of BC is the provincial voice for faculty and staff in BC teaching universities, colleges and institutes, and in private sector institutions. FPSE member locals, represented by Presidents' Council and the Executive, represent over 10,000 faculty and staff at 18 public and 12 private sector institutions.