Collaboration amongst stakeholders in the global sports integrity landscape is universally accepted as being vital in the fight against match-fixing and corruption writes Nick Iliffe, Integrity Intelligence Manager at Stats Perform.
Attend any sports integrity conference and you will probably hear someone mention the need for collaboration within the first 15 minutes of a presentation.
Yet what is often discussed less however is how this actually works in practice. Here are a number of practical steps for sports integrity stakeholders to consider when cooperating with partners.
Information Sharing Agreements and MoUs
A first step in practical collaboration is often the signing of an Information Sharing Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). These documents can provide clear guidelines on how stakeholders can store intelligence, how they handle this intelligence and how they can potentially share it with other partners.
In the post GDPR world, these documents are key in ensuring that data is shared, handled and retained as per GDPR guidelines. However, it should be noted that an MoU only states how information should be shared and does not dictate an obligation to share it.
Often the key to the actual sharing of intelligence is the building of relationships and trust between stakeholders, and the knowledge that intelligence exchanged will be handled, shared and stored correctly.
This is especially true in the field of sports integrity when intelligence can be being shared on sensitive subjects with law enforcement bodies and regulators.
National Intelligence Model
One way of helping to build confidence with industry partners is to adopt similar information and intelligence sharing models. At Stats Perform we use the National Intelligence Model (NIM) to grade and handle our intelligence. The NIM was brought into policing in the year 2000 by the National Criminal Intelligence Service (NCIS), which now forms part of the National Crime Agency (NCA).
One of its aims was to provide a standardised approach for the gathering, coordinating and disseminating of intelligence across UK Law Enforcement. It has subsequently been implemented by a number of bodies involved in sports integrity, including the Gambling Commission, Tennis Integrity Unit and UK Anti-Doping.
By sharing intelligence according to standardised NIM practices, and on standardised NIM intelligence report templates, we can help to build confidence and trust with partners that our intelligence is being handled, processed and stored according to those universal guidelines.
The next issue to face is the storage of intelligence once it has been shared. At an absolute minimum, organisations should ensure that they record their intelligence they have received; where it has come from and who it has been disseminated to. Best practice would be to use any number of commercially available Intelligence Management software packages.
These enable intelligence to be collated, easily retrieved and provide audit trails for subsequent activity. At Stats Perform we use IBM i2 software, an industry leading suite of intelligence management products that are used worldwide across Law Enforcement Agencies, regulators and the private sector.
The challenges of GDPR have shown even more the benefits of moving away from the use of multiple spreadsheets to record information and intelligence and towards this type of specially designed intelligence management software.
A second benefit of this is, if set up correctly, these databases provide the ability for analysts to more easily identify links, patterns and trends within their intelligence and for organisations to move towards a more intelligence-led allocation of resources; identifying their threats and taking proactive prevention or enforcement activity.
“Dare to Share”
The challenges of information sharing are not new ones, nor are they solely ones that the sports integrity industry faces. In 2004, the Bichard Report put forward a number of recommendations in relation to the sharing of intelligence between police forces and helped to foster a new “dare to share” culture between law enforcement and its key partners.
Multi-agency partnerships and information sharing hubs are now seen as vital in the battle against Child Sexual Exploitation, Gang Crime, Modern Day Slavery and a host of other prominent public safety issues.
Collaboration within the sports industry has certainly progressed in recent years and there are a number of organisations regularly sharing intelligence with National Governing Bodies, rights holders and regulators on a non-commercial basis.
The National Platforms proposed under the Macolin Convention and bodies such as IBIA and the Sports Wagering Integrity Monitoring Association provide mechanisms and platforms for the sharing of intelligence both domestically and globally.
When Stats Perform agreed our partnership with Control Risks, it was based on the understanding that collaboration across the industry is key in the fight against match-fixing and corruption.
By combining our own offering across prevention, detection and investigation with Control Risks’ global investigative practice and experience in building resilient and compliant governance programmes, we are able to help stakeholders in the sports industry ensure their integrity, anti-doping and compliance programmes are truly fit-for-purpose.
There is no one size fits all approach for collaboration but as the global legalised betting landscape continues to develop and evolve it is imperative that as an industry we do not rest on our laurels and that we continue to identify practical, innovative and of course legal measures to share intelligence in the fight against sporting corruption.