So you’re in charge of compliance. How can you be sure your company is complying with a law?

I’ve had the experience of starting a new job where part of my responsibility was ensuring that the group of companies complied with all laws that apply to it, but in fact having no idea of exactly what that entailed, and having no way of telling whether the all the decision-makers were doing what they should.

In order to address these concerns, which I expect are common to most compliance experts, I have drafted a set of compliance checklists, that work as follows:

Let’s say you need to know whether your company is complying with the Companies Act, 2008.

Step 1 purchase the checklist (for between R18 000 and R30 000). It is key that it is drafted by an expert and experienced attorney, is up to date, is in accessible language and is comprehensive.

Step 2 Identify everyone in your larger organisation who needs to comply with any of the obligations listed in the checklist. Without alerting those to whom you report, have each of these people confidentially complete the checklist. It consists of around 300* questions, each with a yes / no answer. The answers will alert you to any gaps in compliance and you can address those as needed (including bringing us in to do training for your staff). The managers completing the checklist will already learn what is expected of them, by spending the 25 minutes required to complete the checklist. Each question has a note which shows the penalty for non-compliance- this incentivises the managers to comply.

Step 3 Announce to your board you are undertaking a 12 month project to ensure full compliance with the Companies Act, in the light of the serious penalties (listed in the checklist) and your concern that not everyone in your organisation is properly compliant. Circulate the checklist again, and report to the board on the findings- there will be fewer gaps than previously, and you will easily get the board’s buy-in to give you the resources needed to address those by e.g. getting external experts in to train your company.

Step 4 Circulate the checklist every 6 months and report on the improvement to the board. Once you are happy with the results, find a way to use the results in your organisation’s marketing and reporting.

Step 5 Tackle the Consumer Protection Act or the Protection of Personal Information Act, or some other law of major importance to your company.

The checklists are updated as and when the law changes.

Please contact Trudie Broekmann if you require more information or a quotation for a compliance checklist on a particular Act

* only compliance obligations that have a substantial penalty (including substantial reputational risk) are listed. The Companies Act checklist is currently the longest checklist of our suite.

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