Teaching at an academy in Brussels, I realized we had twenty-six different countries represented in a room of seventy-two attendees. That also means many different languages, organizations, and cultures. What do we all have in common? Compliance. Although many countries take different positions on issues such as reporting systems, reporting to the Board and others, we all are following the seven elements of an effective compliance program. Those elements have been written in many different ways but at the end of the day they all mean the same thing.
- Compliance Oversight
- Education and Training (Communication)
- Auditing and Monitoring
- Reporting and Investigation
- Enforcement and Discipline
- Response and Prevention
- Risk Assessment
- Effectiveness Assessment
These elements have been embedded in countries across the world. Thanks to the Federal Sentencing Commission for providing the seven elements, but they have now taken on a life of their own. We now see other countries making compliance programs mandatory. In their guidance, they list elements. It is amazing that they all map to the seven elements.
One example is Spain. The amended Spanish code (Article 33 bis of the Spanish Criminal Code) lists six key elements that a compliance program must include in order to protect a company from criminal liability (provided that the compliance program has been adopted before a crime was committed by any of its officers or employees).
The six elements listed in the Code are:
- Risk assessment
- Standards and controls
- Financial controls to prevent the crimes
- Obligation to report to the Compliance Body any violations of the standards and controls (a whistleblowing channel),
- Disciplinary system
- Periodic review of the compliance program
They also mention that training will be needed for officers and employees. Effectiveness is a must.
Compliance is about doing the right thing wherever you are. We have people at this Academy from Europe, Africa, Russia, Middle East, Canada and the US. Everyone is working together and the excitement around compliance is expressed by many languages and cultures. At the end of the day we all have the seven elements in common. We are all learning from each other. The week is exciting as tension mounts for the test. If you are not certified, now is the time, it is the certification that people want across the world.
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