Compliance Essay

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Compliance encapsulates numerous obligations that organizations of all types must fulfill. Compliance and the procedures established to meet requirements are becoming a key management concern that is central to running a successful business or organization. In an ever-widening statutory regulatory environment and with commitments to self-regulation, organizations must ensure that they satisfy relevant regulations and guidelines.

The role of compliance is an important area in business management and management in general. Managers and employees within any organization must, where appropriate, respect standards, codes, and regulations. This encompasses all areas of the organization’s work that may need to comply with both substantive and modest regulatory conditions subject to the sector and location. Regulatory regimes are not static and evolve with modifications to legislation, which may transform a sector in a positive or negative manner (usually following discussion between the regulators and industry representatives ensuring compliance is reasonable).

Government bodies primarily “regulate” all aspects of economic activity (self-regulation and compliance guidelines can also be included in establishing and adhering to organizational or sector values). Compliance procedures and conditions may be applied to all aspects of the business and organizational behavior, which must be met or negotiated. It is therefore necessary to ensure that acceptable levels of protection and accountability are in place to limit unnecessary damage and harm. With the emergence of an animated global news media, which frequently scrutinizes the activities of companies and organizations in carrying out their responsibilities, good compliance records are essential.

In considering market regulation, compliance concerns may need to address issues of protectionist regulation (to limit monopolies and encourage competition, noticeable in mergers and acquisitions), consumer protection (fair pricing and customer care), systemic integrity (limiting abuses in knowledge differentials), and other organizational practices that impact stakeholders. Competition policies have been introduced by national regulators such as the Competition Commission in the United Kingdom to ensure merger and acquisition activity does not compromise competition.

Emerging Compliance

Emerging compliance is being improved in areas such as digital environments (entertainment and software) where codes of conduct covering intellectual property rights, copyright, and data protection are being abused. At the international level, concerns about protecting intellectual property are noted in the Agreement on Trade-Related International Property Rights (TRIPS) and other international agreements formulated by the World Trade Organization. Compliance demands and procedures vary among countries, which generates a plethora of problems that are difficult to solve (the enforcement issue being the most challenging part of compliance at the international level). The complications associated with the interpretation of regulations and compliance in international business generate further complexities that need to be understood and managed. In the absence of international coordination and sustained harmonization of international regulations, the emphasis for regulation is placed on national and regional regulators.

European Union

Within Europe, the regulatory environment is shaped by membership of the European Union, which seeks and expects a range of compliance with various regulations. Member states also have national regulatory frameworks that may differ from the European model. It is not unusual to find disparities within the state model. Sectors are increasingly regulated; for example, in the United Kingdom market regulation is identifiable in FSA (Financial Services Authority), finance; Oftel, telecommunications; Oflot, lottery; Ofwat, water services; Ofgas, gas services, supply; NICE, drug registration. Compliance practices are frequently amended, modified, and reviewed through monitoring and reviews that are undertaken to ensure that, where possible, regulation and compliance works properly (this frequently includes amendments arising from lobbying and sector concerns). Regulation and compliance is, however, far from simplistic. It can be contentious, unfair, and damaging to all parties.

The lobbying community representing business, most notable in Brussels and Washington, D.C., seeks to influence the conditions within the regulatory framework to reduce the exposure to compliance where unacceptable to a sector. Associations such as the International Chamber of Commerce and its various national and local offices represent business in seeking to reduce unnecessary compliance. This, of course, needs to be studied and assessed on a case by case basis.

Voluntary Codes Of Conduct

Corporate governance and corporate social responsibilities have generated interest in voluntary codes of conduct. The desire to become a responsible corporate citizen and instill an effective compliance culture in a positive sense is improving the perception of responsible business behavior. Although far from complete, self-regulation is producing benefits to the company and is improving relations with customers and clients who are demanding responsible internal and external business relations.

Responsibility is increasingly a fundamental in well-managed organizations, for example, internally, health and safety and externally, meeting environmental regulations. The prevalence of risks in various business environments demands a high level of awareness in identifying problems from various sources and the effective management of them through compliance with the regulatory environment.

Compliance and regulation is notoriously complex and costly. Public and private organizations of various size respond in different ways to specific regulation. It is likely that the regulatory regimes in numerous countries will become more stringent in forcing companies and organizations to comply with codes, standards, and legislation. Therefore, companies and organizations need to recognize the full cost of compliance and the intended and unintended consequences of their operations.

 

Bibliography:

  1. Shea, Environmental Law and Compliance (Oxford University Press, 2002);
  2. Tarantino, Manager’s Guide to Compliance (John Wiley & Sons, 2006).

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