Busting scams with Crime Stoppers Victoria

States of Change is currently partnering with the Victoria State government in Australia to run a nine-month public innovation learning programme, which features 10 public servants team who all work on a live project throughout.

We hear from Erika Owens, CEO of Crime Stoppers Victoria, on what the programme means for her team, and how their fresh approach to problem solving will open doors for future collaboration.

Crime Stoppers Victoria (CSV) is incredibly proud to be participating in the States of Change learning programme. Through our partnership with Consumer Affairs Victoria (CAV), our team - the “Scambusters” - has been tackling a problem that affects many of the most vulnerable Victorians: scams.

According to the latest Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s ‘Targeting Scams’ report, Australians lost over $AUD 340 million to scammers in 2017. Many of those victims were older Victorians, preyed upon by those looking to make a quick buck out of the esteem that many Victorians place in our most trusted organisations: our banks, and our government departments.

Whilst catching the perpetrators of these scams can be tricky - due to the way that they tend to disappear as quickly as they appear and tend to work across international borders - the responsibility rests with us to ensure that if someone is contacted by the scammer, they have the tools and knowledge necessary to identify that it is a scam. It’s this problem that the CSV representatives in the Scambusters team, along with those from CAV, have been wrestling with.

Revisiting the problem

Together we have worked to define the problem - to look at what resources are available, what we know already and what we don’t. We’ve challenged our assumptions, ensuring that the voices of our most important stakeholders, our end-users, are given a voice at the table, and ensuring that they are involved in the process of creating a solution to the problem that directly affects them. And we’ve come together to create a possible solution that works for Victorians - that fits in with their daily lives and that is driven by their needs and wants, not ours.

The programme itself has proved to be an incredible development opportunity for our staff, delivering training in new methods of problem-solving that directly relate to areas of our work. It’s the same problems approached differently, which have resulted in fantastically innovative solutions, not just for our own team but for everyone involved in the programme.

Sharing and spreading learning

The close working environment of the workshops has encouraged sharing between States of Change learning programme teams as well, meaning that our project gains the benefit of the whole cohort’s expertise, as well as exposing our own team members to different areas of focus - which is already opening doors for collaboration in the future.

The tools and techniques developed through States of Change are already finding their way into other areas of our work, ensuring that the reach of this programme extends far beyond the initial scope of the project. It’s come to change the way we operate and the way we think, leading to a better-equipped organisation and improving our capability for innovation across the board.

We are very thankful to Consumer Affairs Victoria and the States of Change support team from the Department of Premier and Cabinet for enabling us to participate in this wonderful programme.

Let's work together