The Investigations Section works to deter, detect, and investigate allegations of fraud, waste, abuse or employee misconduct impacting the department. The section receives inquiries or complaints regarding departmental activity from many sources, including: the Whistle-blower’s Hotline, the Florida Department of Financial Services’ Get Lean Hotline, the Chief Inspector General’s Office, an on-line complaint form on the OIG’s website, letters, telephone calls, e-mails, and the Executive Office of the Governor.
If suspicion of potential criminal activity is discovered, it is referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency. The OIG coordinates with law enforcement on any criminal investigation, while ensuring that issues of an internal nature are addressed administratively.
Investigations staff monitor and track all cases:
- All case findings are reported to the Commissioner and appropriate managers.
- The OIG provides the necessary facts to the department’s Office of Labor Relations, the Office of the General Counsel, and department managers to assist them in taking the appropriate actions.
- Cases involving criminal activity are referred to the appropriate law enforcement agency, in accordance with Florida Statutes.
Investigations are conducted in accordance with quality and quantitative standards as set forth in the Association of Inspectors General Principals and Standards for Offices of Inspector General and the Commission for Florida Law Enforcement Accreditation.
Additional Investigative Authority
A part of Florida's school choice programs, the McKay Scholarships for Students with Disabilities Program provides Florida students with special needs the opportunity to attend a participating private school. Another program, the Florida Tax Credit Scholarship Program, encourages private, voluntary contributions to expand educational opportunities for children of families that have limited financial resources. In accordance with section 1002.39(6)(c) and 1002.395(9)(f), Florida Statutes, individuals may notify the department of any violation by a parent, private school, or school district of state laws relating to program participation. The department shall conduct an inquiry of any violation or make a referral to the appropriate agency for an investigation. Rules 6A-6.0960 and 6A-6.0970, Florida Administrative Code, provide that the department may at any point refer an inquiry to the department’s Office of Inspector General or another appropriate agency for full investigation.
Information as defined by Sections 112.3187, 112.3188, 112.3189, and 112.31895, Florida Statutes, are collectively referred to as the “Whistle-blower’s Act.” The intent of the Whistle-blower’s Act is to prevent agencies or independent contractors from taking retaliatory action against an employee who reports to an appropriate agency violations of law on the part of a public employer or independent contractor that create a substantial and specific danger to the public's health, safety, or welfare. The law is also intended to prevent agencies or independent contractors from taking retaliatory action against any person who discloses information to an appropriate agency alleging improper use of governmental office, gross waste of funds, or any other abuse or gross neglect of duty on the part of an agency, public officer, or employee.
The Whistle-blower’s Act also provides recourse for a reporting party if it is suspected that retaliatory action has been taken as a result of that party’s reporting activity. The Whistle-blower Act also provides that the name of the person disclosing such information shall be confidential and that the resulting investigation shall remain confidential until closure of the investigative file.
Certain criteria are required in order for a complaint to merit the Whistle-blower designation. All Whistle-blower complaints will be investigated in accordance with Sections 112.3187 – 112.31895, Florida Statutes. The Office of the Chief Inspector General also coordinates the activities of the Whistle-blower’s Act and maintains a toll free Whistle-blower’s hotline at (800) 543-5353. You may use the Chief Inspector General's Whistleblower Form for your convenience (This form is intended only for a State employee, former State employee, State Agency contract employee or Applicant for State employment).