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The keynote address, titled "The Art of Harm-Reduction: Lessons from the World of Regulatory Practice,” was aired via live webcast beginning at 8:30a.m. Eastern Time.
Read Ralph Nader's Letter to the President, March 18th 2013.
Professor Sparrow will be chairing an executive program offered by the Australia & New Zealand School of Government (ANZSOG) in April/May 2013.
Managing Regulation, Enforcement & Compliance, a one week program, will be delivered in Canberra, Australia, 28th April to 3rd May, 2013.
Visit the ANZSOG course website for a course description, brochures, online registration, and an explanatory video.
In February Professor Sparrow delivered a series of seminars sponsored by ANZSOG in Australia and New Zealand. Host agencies included the New Zealand Internal Revenue Department, New Zealand Commerce Commission, the Australian Clean Energy Regulator, the Australian Medicare Program, and the Victoria Environmental Protection Agency.
In January Professor Sparrow chaired a 3-day workshop/seminar for the South African Department of Trade and Industry. The visit was sponsored and hosted by the Companies & Intellectual Property Commission.
Professor Sparrow's Keynote presentation slides are available as a pdf file here. All conference presentations will also be posted in due course on the POP Center website. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
This book examines the efforts of the U.S. Coastguard, working with industry and a broad range of other agencies, to increase the security of U.S. ports in the wake of the terrorist attack of 9/11/2001. Malcolm Sparrow's analysis (Chapter 3, pages 25-54) uses an Operational Risk-Management perspective to assess what these efforts are likely to have accomplished and what work still remains to be done. His essay draws a sharp conceptual distinction between "improving security systems" and "improving security" and shows how progress on the former does not necessarily guarantee progress on the latter.
The book is available through Brookings Institution Press.
Download pdf here.
The Character of Harms is featured by ESADE, Institute of Public Governance & Management, in their March 2012 newsletter. In an accompanying essay, Professor Sparrow makes the case that the field of public management scholarship needs to take note of the sabotage of harms as an emerging professional art-form, full of promise but surely in need of development, formalization and refinement.
Extract...."Roughly half the work that governments do involves the control of harms. Law enforcement, security, intelligence and social regulatory agencies all exist primarily to protect citizens from harms of one type or another. True, they deliver services too, and the public management literature has a great deal to say about how to do service-delivery well. But their core task is to identify “bads” (hazards, risks, threats, problems, or harms) and to control them effectively, thereby making citizens safer, healthier, and more secure. Little guidance has been available to public officials on the issues peculiar to the risk-control business, even as a series of disasters (quickly dubbed “regulatory failures”) unfold. Practitioners need the field of Public Management to pay much more attention to the distinctive challenges associated with this type of work."
Read the full essay here on the ESADE website: English version, Spanish version, or Catalan version.
Professor Sparrow visited Edinburgh, Scotland, 27th February through March 9th as a guest of the Scottish EPA. He delivered workshops on "Managing Regulation, Enforcement & Compliance" for senior regulators. Participants included environmental regulatory managers from Scotland, England & Wales, Northern Ireland, and the Republic of Ireland; as well as representatives of several other European regulatory agencies including the Scottish Executive; Scotland Water; Scotland's Health & Safety Executive; Scotland's Food Standards Agency; Audit Scotland; Healthcare Improvement Scotland; Ayr Animal Health Office; Marine Scotland; the Isle of Man Agency for the Environment, Food and Agricutlure; and the Netherlands' Authority for Financial Markets.
Paragraph 1606 of the Health Security Act (February 2012) ("Purpose of the Health Security Act") requires:
Tristam Korten, writing for Fast Company explains it here: "How to commit Medicare Fraud in Six Easy Steps" November 22nd, 2011. Following Korten's guide (and thereby emulating thousands of others who have got rich quick at Medicare's expense) carries very little risk of detection or prosecution. In fact, as Korten explains, the government's standard responses to the threat of such scams actually helps the perpetrators clean up their (fake) billings, making their fraud schemes more robust and harder to detect in the future.
Tristam Korten is in fact a responsible journalist, and no doubt figures he's not creating any new dangers by explaining all this on the web. There is plenty of evidence, after all, that the crooks already know these basic truths about the Medicare system, and the equivalent vulnerabilities of many other highly automated public payment programs.
The following recent articles and testimony, by Malcolm Sparrow, relate directly to the threat posed by scams of the type Korten describes; and explain the fundamental shift in thinking required to control them effectively.
(1) "An e-ripoff of the U.S.: Disbursing public funds electronically sets up the federal government to be victimized by massive fraud" Los Angeles Times, August 21, 2011.
(2) "Criminal Prosecution as a Deterrent to Health Care Fraud" Testimony, Senate Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Crime & Drugs, May 20th, 2009.
(3) "Fraud in the U.S. Health Care System: Exposing the Vulnerabilities of Automated Payment Systems"
(4) "Why are Dead Doctors Allowed to Practice?" Miami Herald, Thursday September 4th, 2008.
Dec. 2, 2012: Atlanta Journal Constitution: "Fake Medical Providers slip through Medicare loophole"Michael Pell
Last week, a Los Angeles jury convicted a local pastor and his wife of fraudulently claiming $14.2 million from Medicare. The culprits recruited parishioners to help run fake durable medical equipment companies, and spent the proceeds on expensive cars and other luxuries. Assistant U.S. Atty. Gen. Lanny A. Breuer described their efforts as "persistent and brazen" and said "they treated the Medicare program like a personal till." Read the complete article. ____________________________________________________________________________________________________
Malcolm Sparrow has upgraded the GRumbler in response to requests from GRumbler users who needed greater capacity than the original version offered.The new version (released August 2nd 2011) can handle class-sizes up to 5000, allows users to define up to 20 different types of conflict variables, and can generate up to 50 successive sets of group assignments. For users working on very large classes (over 1000) or who want to conduct truly exhaustive searches for optimal distributions, additional speed is also available by installing the TurboGrumbler.exe (a precompiled executable file) as an optional extra. See TurboGrumbler Information & Installation Instructions.
Note: with the upgraded GRumbler.xls file (August 2011 version), the majority of users will not need to use the TurboGrumbler.
Malcolm Sparrow has created the GRumbler (or "Group Rumbler") to help with the frustratingly complex and inherently mathematical task of dividing classes of students into small groups for the purposes of group discussions, exercises, or project work--groups which are simultaneously balanced in terms of gender, nationality, experience, job description, or any other factors that course administrators deem important as a basis upon which to optimize mixing.
The GRumbler was first released in January 2011, and has been featured twice by columnist Natalie Houston in the "ProfHacker" column she writes for the Chronicle of Higher Education. Read the ProfHacker articles here (3rd May 2011) and here (25th August 2011).
Brian Moynihan, of UNC's School of Medicine, discovered the GRumbler through the ProfHacker article, and has created an excellent 11-minute instructional video, demonstrating the GRumbler's functionality. See his GRumbler YouTube video.
Professor Sparrow delivered the Keynote Address at the Congress on Supervision & Science held in Delft on June 21st & 22nd 2011. In his address, Professor Sparrow commended the Dutch regulatory community for its effectiveness in bridging between the worlds of theory & practice, and on pursuing a more promising reform path than that embodied in the wider European movement on "Better Regulation." He also thanked Professor Ferdinand Mertens (host) personally for his extraordinary contributions over several decades to our understanding of the importance and complexity of the role of the professional regulator. (See the Conference introduction to Professor Sparrow's speech here.)
During his visit to the Netherlands (June 19th-24th), Professor Sparrow also worked with the Dutch National Bank and the Authority for Financial Markets (AFM) on their risk-based supervision programs.
[Extract]....Malcolm Sparrow, a professor of public management at Harvard's Kennedy School and the author, most recently, of License to Steal:How Fraud Bleeds America's Health Care System, has long argued that government agencies underestimate the scale of a fraud epidemic that he believes costs taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars annually. His work suggests that better fraud control systems can help significantly trim government budgets without impacting services. Such ideas are of peculiar importance in this era of public-sector austerity.
Read the summary version of the interview, published by The Nation. Read the full interview here.
The first set of formal recommendations issued by the Recovery Independent Advisory Panel (RIAP), relating to the integrity of the Stimulus (ARRA) funding, were posted on the Recovery.gov website on Tuesday March 22nd. The Advisory Panel was appointed by President Obama in March 2010, and Professor Sparrow is Deputy Chair.
The Panel's recommendations were presented to the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (RATB) at a Board meeting held in Washington DC on March 4th, 2011. The Board has taken the Panel's seven recommendations under advisement, and the Board Chairman, Earl Devaney, has directed the Board's staff to determine the steps necessary to implement as many of the recommendations as possible. This set of recommendations from the Advisory Panel relate to the need for fuller reporting of the tax and entitlement portions of the Stimulus spending, and fraud, waste and abuse issues associated therewith; adoption of valid measurement methods (incorporating random or representative audits) for estimating overpayment and loss rates; and increased transparency regarding measured loss rates (as envisaged by the Improper Payments Act of 2002), where available, in relation to programs which Stimulus funds have been used to augment or to which Stimulus funds have been applied.
Professor Sparrow delivered the Keynote Address to conclude the International Regulatory Reform Conference, held in Amsterdam on March 10th & 11th 2011. The conference was the fourth in a series of European annual conferencess on regulatory reform, and was organized by the Bertelsmann Stiftung (Germany) in cooperation with the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs, Agriculture and Innovation. The central purpose of the conference was to determine the future direction of the "Better Regulation" movement in Europe and throughout the OECD. Download IRRC conference program.
Malcolm K. Sparrow's paper, "Governing Science," critiques the claims of the Evidence-Based Policy movement, and Evidence-Based Policing in particular, urging practitioners to appreciate and embrace a broader range of scientific and analytical contributions from academia. The paper contrasts the modes of inquiry employed within the Natural Sciences and the Social Sciences, and concludes the police profession needs to pursue a lot more of the former, and that the claims of social science and criminology to be the arbiters of "what works in crime control" should be moderated through a broader appreciation of diverse investigative, analytic, inquiry, and intelligence techniques more closely aligned with the practical and operational demands of the police profession. The paper has relevance to many professions beyond policing, and should appeal to scholars and practitioners eager to understand the contribution and limitations of the broader evidence-based policy movement.
"Governing Science" is published as a product of the second "Executive Session on Policing and Public Safety," a collaboration of NIJ and HKS' Program on Criminal Justice Policy & Management. NIJ website provides free pdf.