Motor vehicle accident
HRMC were called upon to investigate a motor vehicle accident in a remote area in which a member of staff was seriously hurt. Our investigation rapidly cleared any concerns regarding vehicle maintenance and focused on the driver. Clearly the driver was at fault having been driving recklessly. At this point we could have closed our review of the situation. Instead we went to the next step which was to identify why the driver had been reckless. Interviews soon brought us to a finance manager who had become chronically ineffective. This meant that many staff in the organisation were owed funds that were, in some cases, many months delayed in payment. In the case of the driver, this had become such a cause of friction that after a particularly acrimonious interaction with the finance manager the driver had stormed out of the office and had the accident we came in to review. Further discussions brought us to the identification of some serious structural issues within the administrative elements of the organisation, which without being adequately addressed had led to the finance manager becoming functionally burnt out.
The management of the casualties at the scene also highlighted inadequacies in mission preparation and staff training. Although carrying a satellite phone and charger as per SOP, staff had been provided the incorrect charger by logistics and hence were unable to communicate at the scene. Staff had also attempted to provide CPR to a breathing casualty and so whilst had been trained to conduct what is a complex medical procedure were unsure as to when it should be applied. Further review identified that the organisations SOP and checklist approach to risk management had led to other serious failures in mitigation.
HRMC was asked to provide urgent support and advice to increase the physical protection of an INGO run hospital in a highly restrictive clan controlled area. The rationale behind the request was that there had been several protests and 'rioting' outside the hospital with threats made against staff. Our investigation quickly identified that the protestors were local haulage workers and contractors who had not been paid by the hospital administration. After meetings with the hospital senior management team it was identified that the contractors had not been paid due to a shortage of funds both held at the hospital and the country office. The country office in turn had not received funds from the Global Office. The issue was eventually tracked to a finance officer in Europe who had gone on extended leave, this was exacerbated by a national holiday at the country office and a security policy which did not permit the field offices to hold more than $1500 on site. A meeting was arranged with the local clan elders and a suitable arrangement made.
HRMC was called upon to provide urgent assistance to an organisation who's finance staff had been threatened by an armed group. Upon investigation it was determined that substantial vehicle rental monies had not been paid to a local provider. Discussions between HRMC and the rental provider swiftly identified that he had approached the organisation's logistic department some months ago and had been informed that 'finance wouldn't pay'. He had therefore had his armed men approach the finance staff directly. Internal investigation swiftly discovered that the logistics team had failed to provide the finance team the correct paperwork to enable the payment as per organisational procurement policy. Rather than address the issue through the appropriate channels the logistics officer had sought to protect himself from the local businessman by shifting the blame. Discussions with the SMT identified that the logistics team was new and under significant pressure to support operations elsewhere.
HRMC was requested by a global NGO to conduct an assessment for the opening of a new field office in an area recently liberated from a named terrorist group. Initial discussion with the operations and security manager assessed the risk to staff from travelling to the town as unacceptable and so it was agreed the assessment would be office based and utilise videoconferencing with the two staff deployed at the assessment site. Part way through the process the two staff from the assessment site arrived having been instructed to attend by the emergency response officer. Both staff had travelled without security approval and had utilised a public bus after their request for a rental vehicle had been rejected by the finance team. The bus had broken down enroute forcing the staff to hitch a ride down the contested road. Both staff were newly recruited and due to a collapse of the banking system had not been paid in three months and yet were paying rent for the office from their own funds for fear of losing their jobs.
Our investigation quickly highlighted that despite a coherent security policy this was just one of many incidents that had occurred in the past few months. Further examination identified significant ambiguity and confusion in the staff body stemming from the highly frictional relationship between the security, operations and emergency managers. Due to a series of very personal and heated disagreements each manager conducted all communication with the others through email and proxy thus maintaining the facade that they were in fact cooperating.