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29 May 2013

"Better metrics needed" to measure effectiveness of compliance programmes

Content team

Resources and policy management are creating major problems for corporate compliance teams in a number of businesses worldwide.

This is according to the latest 2013 Global Compliance and Ethics Benchmarking Survey from SAI Global Compliance and Baker & McKenzie.

Some 77 per cent of respondents from 236 companies in over 20 different sectors said that protecting their firm's reputation remains their biggest priority, but managing policies often leads to issues.

"When asked about the greatest challenges to the effectiveness of policy management, nearly half of the respondents indicated that they manage policies across the organization, and coordination is difficult," a segment of the study stated.

Catherine Dunn, who writes for Corporate Council, believes this could be because 31 per cent of the survey's respondents do not have one central place to store all policies. She also points to the fact just 13 per cent use a policy management system as a factor.

Another issued raised in the survey is a lack of employee understanding, with almost half (48 per cent) saying that there staff are not fully versed on company policies.

Despite this, 38 per cent of respondents said they feel levels of compliance have improved in their organisation in the past 12 months. Some 53 per cent said they had not seen any change at all.

According to the report, the best way a company can improve the effectiveness of their compliance programmes without spending huge sums of money is by using more efficient metrics.

The study found that over half of all respondents look at rates of training completion and hotline data to measure the effectiveness of their policies, while less than a third (30 per cent) use employee interviews, follow-up tests and quantitative reporting.

It was noted by the study's authors: "The former metrics serve merely to report on activity, while the latter would serve to measure the true impact of a company's C&E (compliance and ethics) efforts in terms of modified employee awareness, attitudes, and behaviours."

Jeff Williams, chief executive of Aspect Security, recently stated that a large number of firms leave themselves exposed to risks because they regularly fail to react to information their compliance and security programmes provide to them.

Content team, Bureau van Dijk

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