By Art Weiss
From the November 2015 issue of Compliance & Ethics Professional
Once upon a time there were three little compliance officers; Larry, Moe and Curly. No wait, that’s a different story. Let’s start again.
Once upon a time there were three little compliance officers.
The first little compliance officer builds a compliance program out of paper. Lots of words with nothing to back them up. No training; no auditing and monitoring, no risk assessment. His paper compliance program is nothing but a check-the-box program with nothing to support it. His organization’s culture has no integrity, no support from senior management, and no structure.
After employees commit fraud, and steal from the public, the big bad prosecutor comes along. He huffs and he puffs and he blows the paper compliance program down. (There has long been a difference of opinion here as to whether the compliance officer had hair on his chinny chin chin and whether the big bad prosecutor eats the compliance officer).
The second little compliance officer builds his compliance program out of flimsy policies that don’t work, training that’s ineffective, and a culture of hiding one’s head in the sand. Well, you guessed it. When senior management is caught looking the other way when employees allow third party partners to run rampant, accept kickbacks from suppliers, and pile lavish gifts upon foreign officials, the big bad prosecutor comes back. He huffs and he puffs and he blows the flimsy compliance program down.
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The third little compliance officer builds his compliance program after attending an SCCE Basic Compliance and Ethics Academy, and getting full support of his Board of Directors and senior management. He effectively trains all employees based upon the latest risk assessment, does due diligence on third party partners, and implements a plan to audit and monitor his program regularly. Unlike his poor fellow little compliance officers whose programs lie in ruins and who are now wearing orange jumpsuits sharing a cell with their CEO, this little compliance officer’s employees, from top to bottom, walk the talk of compliance. They have the right culture and all the elements of an effective compliance program are in place.
Since the big bad prosecutor just happened to be in the neighborhood he figured he would pay the third little compliance officer a visit. He huffs and puffs until he is blue in the face, but he can’t blow down the effective compliance program. (Again, there is disagreement here as to whether the third little compliance officer eats the big bad prosecutor).
Dejected, the big bad prosecutor returns to his office and types out a deferred prosecution agreement. Hey, you didn’t expect him to just give up did you?