Anatomy of a robust compliance programme

Mini-series by Lucy Blake and Kate West, Linklaters LLP. The authors would like to thank James Walker of Compass Group plc for his assistance with the drafting of this article.

Helpful advice for companies on designing compliance programmes is widely available, from the recently published DOJ Compliance Programme Guidance and the new chapter in the SFO’s Handbook on Evaluating Compliance Programmes, the UK Ministry of Justice’s 2012 Guidance on Adequate Procedures to Prevent Bribery, various ISO (International Organisation for Standardization) guidance notes, the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact and more. Importantly, all the guidance emphasises that there is no “one-size-fits-all” solution – compliance programmes need to be the right fit for each individual business.

There has also been a recent surge of “values-based” programmes in the market. What this means is that a programme designed around a company’s core values – so that a company’s own standards for ethical behaviour are integral to the programme, rather than merely being designed to adhere to requirements mandated by specific legal requirements.

Broadly speaking, programmes should consider the following key areas: