Despite the moral decrepitude which seems to pervade the world today, one would still like to think that most people desire to be essentially righteous when it comes to their attitudes, actions and behaviours. Of course, adhering to a set of moral principles is easier said than done – especially in a corporate context where such principles may have to sit within a vague framework of business ethics.

Yet for those companies that are committed to installing and sustaining a strong ethical culture across their business, having recourse to a robust compliance and ethics (C&E) programme is a key requirement. Such standards, procedures and controls can go some way toward preventing and detecting unethical conduct within the ranks. In addition, an effective C&E programme can also garner kudos externally, if a company is seen to be doing business ‘the right way’.

According to Compliance 360, a C&E programme needs various facets. First, establish policies, procedures and controls. Second, exercise effective compliance and ethics oversight. Third, exercise due diligence to avoid delegation of authority to unethical individuals. Fourth, communicate and educate employees on C&E programmes. Fifth, monitor and audit C&E programmes for effectiveness. Sixth, ensure consistent enforcement and discipline of violations. Finally, respond appropriately to incidents and take steps to prevent future incidents. These elements form the core of a C&E programme, and should be implemented throughout the organisation, from the shop floor to the decision-making upper echelons.

Oct-Dec 2016 Issue

Fraser Tennant