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The Fraud Awards are going from strength to strength as organisers report a significant increase in entries for 2018

The organisation behind the Fraud Awards has reported a significant increase in entries to the loss prevention and profit protection ‘Oscars’ as it announces its 2018 shortlist.

Retail Knowledge, the company that has run the awards since 2014 as part of its Retail Risk Conference, said it has been ‘bombarded’ with entries as the event goes from strength to strength.

Paul Bessant, the managing director of Retail Knowledge, which has also launched Fraud Awards at its US and Australian events, said the UK awards, being held at the Retail Risk Gala Dinner on 4 October at the King Power Stadium, the home of Leicester City FC, would be the best yet.

“Interest increases every year, but we have literally been bombarded with entrants this year as the event has grown in strength, in large part because the retailers have really got behind it,” said Bessant.

“The standard of entry has also been incredibly high and the competition has been fierce.”

He said the secret to its success was keeping the formula fresh and listening to the opinions of the retailers and vendors who are critical to the success of the event, which is sponsored by inventory counting and stocktaking company WIS International.

“We try and add something new each time, and this year we have added the ‘Woman of the Year’ category, which had a lot of interest with dozens of entries. We have also introduced this category into our Australian Fraud Awards where women in the sector equally match their male counterparts. I am sure this award will grow in stature as more women push forward in the sector.

“Of course there are the old favourites including the LP Director of the Year, the Hall of Fame Award and the Rising Star category which are always well supported, but we are always open to new suggestions for the future. We are, for example, thinking of introducing something for the warehouse and supply chain and we may split the Vendor of the Year awards in two to acknowledge the size of the companies – so there would be a large vendor and a small vendor category.

“But we do not want to tinker too much so as to make it unworkable. Many events suffer when they have too many awards and the evening goes on for too long.”

Another reason for the success of the awards has been the robust selection process, which involves the 11 judges, who are all senior LP professionals from the UK and overseas, reviewing the hundreds of entrants, scoring each application, and arriving at a shortlist of finalists.

Bessant added: “We used to meet face-to-face to carry out the judging process, but these days it is better to keep the format simple and each judge reviews the exact same 750 maximum word entries on their own. You always get strong personalities on judging panels, and we did not want that fact to unfairly influence any undecided or wavering judges.

He said Retail Knowledge approaches many of the retailers to take part in the judging process, but many put themselves forward.

““It’s not an easy job - they all work incredibly hard. Each had an extensive document to go through with all of the entries included, and because they all have busy day jobs, many of them worked over their weekends to meet the deadlines. We are extremely grateful to them for giving up their valuable time.”

In addition to the new categories, the event itself will have a few additional surprises in terms of digital presentation and layout as well as key sponsor WIS International, which has signed up to support the event until 2021, hosting a VIP pavilion, for the first time.

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