Sent: 09-11-2010 10:58:03
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Trade Practices Audits - part 2
Further benefits of a review or audit of your trade practices compliance measures.
2. A regular check-up from an independent
In its publication Corporate Trade Practices Compliance Programs, the ACCC commented:
A superior knowledge of the risks faced by the organisation and of the measures in place to guard against those risks can provide a company with a competitive advantage.
When a company spends time and money on the implementation of TPA compliance measures, it will want some reassurance that those compliance measures are effective. Whilst a company will usually receive regular internal reports from its compliance officer, it is also very useful and reassuring to get an independent perspective on how things are traveling.
The ACCC has recently taken steps to help to ensure that trade practices compliance review reports are candid and add value for a company. It has recently issued compliance review report guidelines which suggest that at the conclusion of the review process, the reviewer produce two reports rather than one. One report goes to the ACCC and the other to the company.
The first report (to the ACCC) provides them with information such as - the details of the review process, the company's cooperation with the reviewer and the reviewer's opinion about the company's compliance commitment. The ACCC may flag any areas of concern when they provide their response to the report, which means that the company is provided with advice directly from the regulator about how it can improve its operations and manage its trade practices risk.
The second report, which is only provided to the company, is structured so that it will provide detailed and comprehensive information on the performance of the compliance measures that are being reviewed. This report can include:
- whether the trade practices compliance program and company policy includes all of the elements required by the legal obligations
- if, and to what extent, the trade practices compliance program covers the parties identified in an initial Trade Practices Act risk assessment
- if, and to what extent, the trade practices training is carried out and is effective
- if, and to what extent, the Company's complaints handling system is effective
- if, and to what extent, the Company is able to provide confidentiality and security to whistleblowers, and staff are aware of the whistleblower protection mechanisms
- actions recommended by the reviewer to ensure the continuing effectiveness of the company's trade practices compliance program.
This provides the company with a trade practices compliance report card. The company can then use this report to coordinate steps to address any areas of concern. As it provides an overview of the effectiveness of the TPA compliance measures that are in place, it also gives the company peace of mind.
3. A chance to control your operations - before someone else does!
Most people love the feeling that comes from being organised and will tell you that they hate the feeling that things are chaotic and out of control. When you run a business there is a lot on your plate. When a company implements trade practices procedures these should become part of the business' operations, but there are many things that need to be done on a practical level to make sure that this occurs.
It is vital that up-to-date and accurate records are kept of all the steps taken by the company - such as dissemination of trade practices policies, staff training, letters of assurance, etc. Systems need to be in place to ensure that information about the implementation of the compliance measures can be easily accessed as required.
When the time comes for a review or audit to be conducted, this is a great opportunity for a company to review its trade practices compliance document retention and record keeping practices. This will put the company in a great position to respond to regular reviews or audits (or other requests for information) and will mean that the company's management can be provided with accurate and up-to-date information about how the company is traveling in terms of TPA compliance.
Watchdog Compliance Pty Ltd
Watchdog Compliance specialises in assisting companies to achieve effective on-going trade practices compliance. Watchdog Compliance regularly conducts risk assessments, compliance program development and implementation, tailored compliance officer and staff training, reviews and audits.
We work closely with our clients to get to know the way their business operates, their key staff and their company objectives. We work to ensure that our clients not only comply with their legal obligations, but that they get the trade practices information and assistance needed to grow their company. If you would like any further information about our services please click here.
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