Why Convert to a Compliance Management System?
Able to be implemented in any type of business throughout the world, a compliance management system fundamentally changes the way an organisation approaches compliance and puts them on the path towards ISO certification
A compliance management system follows a well-heeled, high-level structure used by many of ISO's standards, such as the more well-known Quality Management Systems (9001) and Information Security Management Systems (27001). The key value of a compliance management system lies in its flexibility, allowing you to mould it to fit your organisation. By making some slight changes to your current compliance programmes, organisations can leverage their new management system as a true differentiator. Benefits of making this transition include:
Flexibility to cover your unique risks
- Able to be used by any organisation
- Easily transition your current programme
- A tailored system for your needs
Many organisations fear that transitioning to a compliance management system would require them to follow rigid guidelines that are difficult to implement and might also not be the best structure for their organisation. This is not the case with systems built according to ISO standards though, as they were created to be flexible enough for organisations of all sizes and from any sector. Their overarching requirements provide compliance professionals with a guide, stating areas that need to be included (investigation processes, compliance reporting, etc) if you wish to have your system certified. However, you choose the technical aspects that will best reduce risk in your organisation.
A continuous cycle of improvement
Build upon your existing compliance programmes
Requires audits, reviews, and improvement
Identify and fix gaps for a better system over time
Compliance programmes have a strong top-to-bottom structure, making them somewhat linear compared to the circular design of a management system. This can be seen in the compliance management system's cyclical motion of implementing systems, checking them, measuring them, auditing them, reviewing them, and improving them. This is often in stark contrast to a compliance programme which is often a little light on the audit, review, and improvement side of things.
Prove the value of your efforts
- Requires measurements of all processes
- More easily identify where problems are occuring
- Highlight areas of achievement to management
A compliance management system forces your compliance team to measure any activity that it decides to include in its defined policies and procedures. While this may make some organisations a little uncomfortable, it is essential for preventing potentially costly issues and closing any gaps that might appear in the system.
Distribute the responsibility of compliance
- Vigilance for issues throughout the organisation
- Creates a system which requires everyone to participate
- Easily manage new issues as they arrise
Though the compliance department and management own the responsibilities of development, review, approval, and improvement of the compliance management system, everyone in the business plays a role in making the system successful. Transitioning from separate compliance programmes to a management system fundamentally transforms the objective from attempting to ‘comply’ with the policies and procedures, to creating a system for the management of an issue and supporting the business to operate within it.
A universal structure
- A proven method that has been used in ISO systems for decades
- Follow a similar structure between compliance programmes
- Improves colleague's comprehension of their responsibilities
The number of compliance programmes that are often in place within an organisation can make it difficult for non-compliance specialised employees to understand what they are responsible for in their day-to-day working life. This is specifically true if these programmes are all structured differently, with different policies and procedures in place. Adhering to a consistent framework helps the entire organisation to understand what is expected of them and makes it easier to build an integrated compliance system like ISO 37301.
Accountability throughout the organisation
- Easily identify who is responsible for non-conformities
- Take corrective actions so that issues are avoided in the future
- Ownership is still maintained by legal and compliance
A ‘lack of ownership’ has been frustrating for many businesses using compliance programmes in the past, making the benefit of transitioning to a management system much clearer. A compliance management system, through its internal audit process and ultimately the external audit and certification process, will drive people to follow the system to avoid being exposed as the reason it is found to be in non-conformity with the standard.
- Prove the strength of your programme
- Measure conformity against a universal standard
- Gain a competitive advantage
There is no professional way to audit and certify a compliance programme against an objective standard which doesn’t exist. This concept is evident in businesses throughout the world, as accountants follow a universal standard against which they are then audited by external professionals.
Though it takes a bit of time and commitment from your organisation, you won’t regret the vast and continual improvements that a management system will bring to your compliance efforts.